Voyages of Discovery Premier speaker series to debut 2017-18 season at ECU

From finding the Titanic to rebuilding from Hurricane Katrina to writing a Pulitzer Prize-winning book or satirizing the day’s politics, the 2017-18 season of the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences Voyages of Discovery series will inform, enlighten and engage audiences.

The series – now a decade old – was established in 2007 by the College of Arts and Sciences Dean’s Advancement Council.

Researchers, humanitarians and activists – luminaries from every field of human endeavor – come to East Carolina University’s campus to share ideas, experiences and perspectives on important issues in today’s society.

Their thought-provoking and groundbreaking messages attract students, faculty and visitors from across the region and state.

The series kicks off Sept. 14 with Dr. Robert Ballard, the oceanographer who discovered the Titanic. On Oct. 4, Colson Whitehead, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning “The Underground Railroad,” will offer commentary from his book. Retired Army Lt. Gen. Russel L. Honoré, commander of Joint Task Force Katrina, will visit Feb. 8. And the season’s finale will be on April 12 with The Capitol Steps, a political satire troupe.

“The Voyages series affords us an opportunity for spotlighting the mission of Harriot College and the significant ways in which we assist ECU and serve the region by educating citizens as we create new knowledge.”

- Dr. William M. Downs, dean of the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences

Dr. Robert Ballard

Oceanographer who discovered the Titanic

"Human History Under Water"

September 14, 2017 | 7:00 PM | Wright Auditorium

Best known for his 1985 discovery of the Titanic, Dr. Robert Ballard has succeeded in tracking down numerous, significant shipwrecks. He is a National Geographic Society Explorer-In-Residence, a commissioner on the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy, and president of the Ocean Exploration Trust. An explorer, discoverer and historian, Ballard’s fascinating journeys can teach us a great deal about our past, and they have encouraged others to take tremendous strides in the survey of the undiscovered mysteries of the deep sea.

Colson Whitehead

Pulitzer Prize-Winning Novelist

Reading and commentary from the author of the novel, "The Underground Railroad"

October 4, 2017 | 7:00 PM | Wright Auditorium

Colson Whitehead has established himself as one of the most versatile and innovative writers in contemporary literature. From the secret lives of elevators to international poker tournaments, Whitehead takes on the marginal, the strange and the surreal. His newest novel, "The Underground Railroad," is a 2017 Pulitzer Prize winner, was the 2016 National Book Award winner and appeared at the top of the New York Times bestseller list.

Retired Lt. General Russel L. Honoré

Commander of Joint Task Force Katrina & Global Preparedness Authority

"Resilient Leadership"

February 8, 2018 | 7:00 PM | Wright Auditorium

As the commander of Joint Task Force Katrina, he became known as the “Category 5 General” for his striking leadership style in coordinating military relief efforts in post-hurricane New Orleans. Drawing on his in-the-trenches experience managing conflicts of both the natural and man-made variety, Gen. Honoré delivers a bracing dose of candor with real-world leadership lessons that will equip audiences with a mindset of global preparedness and instill confidence in tomorrow’s leaders.

The Capitol Steps

Political Satire Troupe

"The Lighter Side of Politics"

April 12, 2018 | 7:00 PM | Wright Auditorium

The Capitol Steps began as a group of Senate staffers who set out to satirize the very people and places that employed them. Taken together, the performers have worked in a total of 18 Congressional offices and represent 62 years of collective House and Senate staff experience. Since they began, the Capitol Steps have recorded 26 albums. They've been featured on NBC, CBS, ABC and PBS, and can be heard four times a year on National Public Radio stations nationwide during their “Politics Takes a Holiday” radio specials. No matter who's in the headlines, whether on the left or the right side of the aisle, the Capitol Steps are equal opportunity offenders.

You can purchase tickets in advance to all events for a discounted rate.

Join us for special access receptions with Voyages of Discovery speakers prior to the evening events.

*Note: The Capitol Steps event will not include a Speaker Reception.*

Reception events are limited to 70 guests.

“Voyages of Discovery enhances the region’s educational sophistication and cultural experiences.”

- Harvey Wooten, THCAS Advancement Council member and supporter.

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