Seminole State College presents speakers representing diverse views and interests, as well as panel discussions of topics in the news. This page features previous speakers who have given presentations at the College. All of these events are free for currently enrolled Seminole State students and to the community. For a list of upcoming speakers and events, please check the College Events Calendar.
Ryan Sallans, Transgender Speaker, Author and Advocate
Ryan Sallans, a professionally trained sexuality educator, shared the story of his transition from female to male with an intermixing of humor and intricate clinical details surrounding the transition process, while exploring the intersections of identity as his identities changed. Sallans also is a public speaker, consultant and author. He specializes in leading conversation regarding health care, campus inclusion and workplace issues impacting the transgender and LGBTQ communities. He has conducted over a thousand presentation and training sessions to diverse audiences, and is the lead subject matter expert and scriptwriter for e-learning courses used around the nation to train health-care professionals and staff. Sallans has appeared in the documentary, Gender Rebel, on MTV's LOGO network and on Larry King Live, Ricki: The New Ricki Lake Show, Trisha, NPR’s On Point with Tom Ashbrook and HuffPost Live. He participated in a Q&A period, reception and book signing following his presentation.
Dr. Michael Kimmel, Author and Sociologist
Dr. Michael Kimmel is a world-renowned author, sociologist, global expert and thought leader in gender equity issues, having provided insight to various organizations around the world. He also is founder of the Center for the Study of Men and Masculinities at Stony Brook University in New York. A tireless advocate of engaging men to support gender equality, Dr. Kimmel has lectured at more than 300 colleges, universities, and high schools. He has delivered the International Women’s Day annual lecture at the European Parliament, the European Commission, and the Council of Europe. He has also worked with the Ministers for Gender Equality of Norway, Denmark and Sweden in developing programs for boys and men. During his presentation, Dr. Kimmel spoke on various topics, including maleness, the importance of engaging males to support gender equality and "a new stage of development" among young people related to the transition from adolescence to adulthood, expounding on his best-selling book Guyland: The Perilous World Where Boys Become Men. He consults widely with corporations, NGOs, and public-sector organizations on gender equity issues. Dr. Kimmel was called “the world’s most prominent male feminist” in The Guardian newspaper in London. He participated in a Q&A period, reception and book signing following his presentation.
Dr. Naomi Wolf, Feminist and Author
Naomi Wolf, is one of world’s most influential feminists and bestselling author of The Beauty Myth. She teaches public presentation to Rhodes Scholars and was a visiting lecturer at Stony Brook University. Dr. Wolf has written eight bestselling works of nonfiction, including Give Me Liberty, which includes effective tools for citizens to promote civic engagement and create sustainable democracy, and the iTunes bestseller, Vagina: A New Biography. The End of America, her New York Times bestseller, is a call to preserve liberty and democracy, winning the 2008 Nautilus Silver Award for social change and activism. Dr. Wolf also writes columns and blog posts for Project Syndicate, The Huffington Post, The Washington Post, The Guardian, The New York Times, The Chronicle of Higher Education and The Wall St. Journal. She is the co-founder of The Woodhull Institute for Ethical Leadership and The American Freedom Campaign. Dr. Wolf presented the topic “Feminism: Next Up, the Millennial Way,” exploring the way millennials are making the feminist movement their own outside the stereotypes and assumptions of the past, and discussing how they can keep their movement and energy from being sidelined into more superficial issues as the basic fights remain ahead. She participated in a Q&A period and reception following her presentation.
Dr. Hakeem Oluseyi, Astrophysicist, Educator, Humanitarian
Dr. Hakeem Oluseyi, a regular on Discovery Network, Science Channel and National Geographic, is a world renowned astrophysicist, teacher, inventor and humanitarian. He grew up in impoverished Mississippi and the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans with many of his “role models” involved in the worlds of drugs and crime. Nicknamed “The Gangsta Nerd” many years ago, Dr. Oluseyi embraces this identity as it speaks to his past, present and future, as someone who believes in the power of passion and dreams. Currently, Dr. Oluseyi has five degrees, 80 publications including books, scientific and technology publications, more than 11 patents and has received several fellowships, honors and awards. Dr. Oluseyi’s mission is to pass on knowledge, process and results to the next generation, along the way dispelling the myth of what it takes to be a scientist. In his presentation, he shared his story and his exciting work with the 100 Year Starship Project to help lay the groundwork for the first human mission to a nearby planetary system. Dr. Oluseyi participated in a Q&A period and reception following his presentation.
Sandra Cisneros, Author, Poet
Best known for her debut novel, The House on Mango Street, Sandra Cisneros is internationally known for her poetry and fiction. She has earned several awards for her work, including the MacArthur Fellowship, two National Endowment of the Arts Fellowships and a Texas Medal of the Arts. Cisneros is founder of Los MacArturos (the Latino MacArthur Fellows), the Macondo Foundation and the Alfredo Cisneros del Moral Foundation. Cisneros participated in a book signing and reception following her presentation.
Van Jones, Professor, Pundit, Author
Van Jones has unique insight into America’s turbulent political scene. He has worked closely with political players at all levels – and across the spectrum. On the left, he has been allied with everyone from Richard Branson to movements, such as Black Lives Matter. On the right, he has campaigned to win criminal justice reform alongside Newt Gingrich and Koch Industries. Former President George W. Bush signed his first legislative proposal, the Green Jobs Act. Then President Obama appointed him to be special advisor on green jobs. Most recently, Jones was "on the ground" in Ferguson, Charleston and Selma (for the 50th anniversary of the historic civil rights march there). Jones, a civil rights leader, former Obama White House advisor and CNN political correspondent, is the author of two New York Times bestsellers, The Green Collar Economy and Rebuild the Dream. Jones was named one of TIME magazine's 100 Most Influential People in 2009 and one of Fast Company's 12 Most Creative Minds on Earth. He also is the founder and president of Dream Corps, an incubator, platform and home for world-changing initiatives that empower the most vulnerable in our society. Jones participated in a book signing and reception following his presentation.
Temple Grandin, Professor, Author, Autism Activist
When Temple Grandin was born in 1947, autism had only just been named. Today it is more prevalent than ever, with one in 88 children diagnosed on the spectrum. Weaving her own experience with remarkable new discoveries, Temple Grandin – one of the most respected and beloved voices in the field – spoke to attendees on the topic of autism, bringing her singular perspective to a thrilling journey into the heart of the autism revolution. Grandin was listed on Time magazine's 2010 list of the 100 most influential people in the world, and she was the subject of an Emmy-winning HBO original film starring Claire Danes. Grandin participated in a book signing and reception following her presentation.
Sarah Susanka, Architect, Thought Leader, Author of the Not So Big Series
Sarah Susanka spoke with attendees about her Not So Big Life philosophy. The philosophy is one that, on the surface, looks very much like the life you're already living. But your orientation to what you do and how you do it, as well as what it all means, is entirely different. The secret to a more balanced life lies in letting go of obligations that no longer serve their purpose, as well as becoming more aware of how your thoughts shape the world around you. Susanka participated in a book signing and reception following her presentation.
Keith Boykin, Author, Broadcaster, Commentator
Keith Boykin, best-selling author of "One More River to Cross: Black and Gay in America," spoke to attendees about the issues concerning race and sexuality in the United States. Boykin, currently a contributor for CNBC and a commentator for MSNBC, has appeared on a number of prominent national media programs, including Anderson Cooper 360, The O'Reilly Factor, The Tyra Banks Show and The Tom Joyner Morning Show. He has published four books, each nominated for a Lambda Literary Award.
Clint Van Zandt, Author, FBI Profiler and Hostage Negotiator
Former FBI Profiler Clint Van Zandt reviewed the history of crime scene investigations and, through case studies, showed how these techniques are applied to solve crimes. He also discussed the history of modern-day crime scene investigations and how today's criminal investigators "read" a crime scene to develop a profile of the criminal. He used real-life situations and crime scenes will be used to illustrate the points investigators need to know to solve such cases. Van Zandt is author of two books, "Dynamic Processes of Crisis Negotiation" and "Facing Down Evil: Life on the Edge as an FBI Hostage Negotiator."
Julia "Butterfly" Hill, Author, Activist and Poet
Julia "Butterfly" Hill, author, activist and poet, discussed how you can make a difference in your world. She shared her experience of spending 738 days in the branches of a 1,000-year-old redwood tree in protest of the destruction of the world's last remaining ancient forest. The protest drew international attention and resulted in an agreement that provided permanent protection for the tree. She participated in a book signing and reception following her presentation.
Guy Hoffman, Professor and Roboticist
Guy Hoffman, assistant professor in the School of Communication at IDC Herzliya, Israel and co-director of the IDC Media Innovation Lab, shared his academic research, which investigates human-robot interaction, collaboration and learning. The aim of his research is integrating robots into people's daily lives. He participated in a reception following his presentation.
Steve Pemberton, Child Advocate, Chief Diversity Officer and Divisional VP for Walgreens
Steve Pemberton discussed his memoir, "A Chance in the World: An Orphan Boy, a Mysterious Past, and How He Found a Place Called Home," which chronicles his difficult path through foster care and his determined search for his family. He participated in a reception and book signing following his presentation.
Bill Belleville, Enviromental Writer and Documentary Filmmaker
Bill Belleville, Sanford-based author and filmmaker, discussed Florida's diverse ecosystem and participated in a book signing following his presentation. The event, which was funded by the Florida Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, was part of the College's 2014 Biology Colloquium series titled "The Environment Around Us."
Dr. Bernice King, CEO of the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change
Dr. King, daughter of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and CEO of the King Center, spoke about nonviolence and social change and participated in a book signing following her speech. Dr. King's appearance was the main event of Seminole State's monthlong Choose Nonviolence campaign in March.
"Judge Alex" Ferrer and Orlando Attorney Diana Tennis
Ferrer, retired judge and arbiter on Fox's "Judge Alex," and Tennis, of the Law Office of Diana M. Tennis, P.A., shared their insights and professional perspectives on the strategies, decisions and surprising moments of one of Seminole County's most publicized trials.
Nikki Giovanni, Award-Winning Author, Poet, Activist and Educator
Giovanni, University Distinguished Professor at Virginia Tech and author of more than 30 books, read from her works and answered questions.
Bill Ivey, Arts Advocate and Former Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts
Ivey, author of "Arts Inc.: How Greed and Neglect Have Destroyed Our Cultural Rights," discussed the importance of the arts to society.
Dr. Ken Crews, Founding Director of the Copyright Advisory Office, Columbia University
Dr. Crews conducted two interactive forums about recent developments in fair use and how they apply to higher education.
Koko Tanimoto Kondo, Hiroshima Survivor and Peace Activist
Kondo discussed her life as a survivor of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and talked about her father, Kiyoshi Tanimoto, one of the six people profiled in John Hersey's book "Hiroshima."
Clifton Taulbert, Pulitzer Prize-Nominated Author
Taulbert and Gary Schoeniger discussed the power of an entrepreneurial mindset, as described in their book "Who Owns the Ice House?"
Gary Schoeniger, Entrepreneur
Schoeniger and Gary Taulbert discussed the power of an entrepreneurial mindset, as described in their book "Who Owns the Ice House?"
Billy Collins, Poet Laureate
Collins, Poet Laureate of the United States from 2001-03, spoke as part of Tuesday Voices, Seminole State’s open-mic poetry reading series. Collins read from his works and answered questions.
Tom Hayden, 1960s Activist
Hayden spoke as part of the College’s Living History Series. He has spent more than 50 years as a social and political activist, including 18 years in the California Legislature. He was the primary author of the Port Huron Statement, the 1962 manifesto that launched Students for a Democratic Society.
Woodie King Jr., Theater Director
Ian Cheney, Documentary Filmmaker
Daniel Ellsberg, Author and Lecturer
Ron Soodalter, Author
Mathew Staver, Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman
Bobby Seale, Civil Rights Activist
Norm Lewis, Broadway Performer and Seminole State Alumnus
Jay Blake, NHRA Team Owner
Roger Newman, Pulitzer Prize Finalist
Robin Lippincott, Novelist and Seminole State Alumnus