Presidential Speaker Series

Talks with nationally known thinkers and academics focused on freedom of speech and campus discourse.

Presidential Speaker Series

The Presidential Speakers Series

Launched in 2023, The Presidential Speakers Series—focused on freedom of speech and campus discourse—brings nationally known thinkers and academics to campus. The events are open to all in the Seattle University community — students, faculty, staff, alumni and leadership.

All events will be held from 5 to 6 pm in Oberto Commons on the Seattle University campus.

Upcoming Speakers

Keith Whittingham
Yale Law School
November 2024

Jean Twenge, PhD
UC San Diego
March 2025

Jamal Greene
Columbia Law
May 2025

Past Speakers

Dean of School of Law UC Berkeley 
Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Erwin Chemerinsky became the 13th Dean of Berkeley Law on July 1, 2017, when he joined the faculty as the Jesse H. Choper Distinguished Professor of Law.

Prior to assuming this position, from 2008-2017, he was the founding Dean and Distinguished Professor of Law, and Raymond Pryke Professor of First Amendment Law, at University of California, Irvine School of Law. Before that he was the Alston and Bird Professor of Law and Political Science at Duke University from 2004-2008, and from 1983-2004 was a professor at the University of Southern California Law School, including as the Sydney M. Irmas Professor of Public Interest Law, Legal Ethics, and Political Science. From 1980-1983, he was an assistant professor at DePaul College of Law.

He is the author of 16 books, including leading casebooks and treatises about constitutional law, criminal procedure, and federal jurisdiction. His most recent books are Worse than Nothing: The Dangerous Fallacy of Originalism (2022) and Presumed Guilty: How the Supreme Court Empowered the Police and Subverted Civil Rights (2021).

He also is the author of more than 200 law review articles. He is a contributing writer for the Opinion section of the Los Angeles Times, and writes regular columns for the Sacramento Bee, the ABA Journal and the Daily Journal, and frequent op-eds in newspapers across the country. He frequently argues appellate cases, including in the United States Supreme Court.

In 2016, he was named a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.In 2017, National Jurist magazine again named Dean Chemerinsky as the most influential person in legal education in the United States. In 2022, he is the President of the Association of American Law Schools.

B.S., Northwestern University (1975)
J.D., Harvard Law School (1978)

New York Times 
Wednesday, March 13, 2024

David French is a columnist for The New York Times. A graduate of Harvard Law School, David was previously a senior editor at The Dispatch and a contributing writer at The Atlantic. He is a former constitutional litigator and a past president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.  

David is a New York Times bestselling author, and his most recent book is “Divided We Fall: America’s Secession Threat and How to Restore Our Nation.” David is a former major in the United States Army Reserve and is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom, where he was awarded the Bronze Star.

Vice Chancellor and Provost
Syracuse University
Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Gretchen Ritter joined Syracuse University in October 2021 from The Ohio State University College of Arts and Sciences, where she was executive dean and vice provost.  In that position, she led Ohio State’s largest college, which is home to 38 academic departments and schools and more than 20 centers and institutes. 

Ritter previously served as the Harold Tanner Dean of Arts and Sciences at Cornell University from 2013 to 2018 before returning to the faculty. Ritter was the college's first female dean. Prior to her position at Cornell, she served as vice provost and professor of government at the University of Texas at Austin. She has also taught at MIT, Princeton and Harvard. Ritter is the recipient of several fellowships and awards, including a National Endowment for Humanities Fellowship, the Radcliffe Research Partnership Award and a Liberal Arts Fellowship at Harvard Law School. Ritter received her bachelor’s degree in government from Cornell and a doctorate in political science from MIT.