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Don R. Elliott Distinguished Presidential Lectures

Don R. Elliott

Don R. Elliott, Courtesy of Vanderbilt University

The Don R. Elliott Distinguished Presidential Lecture Series is designed to expose the Lipscomb University campus and the surrounding community to persons of influence in one or more issues of contemporary debate or discussion, with a preference for issues related to economics or political science. An endowment established at Lipscomb by the Don R. Elliott Foundation provides primary funding for the Elliott Distinguished Presidential Lecture. The lecture series is named in memory of Don R. Elliott, a native of Kerr, Arkansas, who was a Professor of Economics and Political Science at Little Rock University, Randolph-Macon College and Vanderbilt University. He founded Don Elliott and Associates, a fundraising consulting firm that directed campaigns for Lipscomb University and a host of other universities, colleges and private schools.

2021 Speaker | Doris Kearns Goodwin

Previous Elliott Distinguished Lecturers


Leading Through Covid, 2020

Dr. Alex Jahangir, Dr. James Hildreth, Commissioner Mike Krause, and Commissioner Mark Ezell shared their wisdom on leading through the novel coronavirus health crisis at the Tennessee state and local level in a panel discussion hosted by WKRN-TV's Nikki Burdine.


Jonathan Haidt, 2019

Jonathan Haidt is a social psychologist with New York Times bestsellers, "The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion" and "The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting Up a Generation for Failure."

Thomas Friedman

Thomas Friedman, 2018

We were pleased to welcome Thomas Friedman, New York Times foreign affairs columnist and bestselling author as our speaker for 2018.

Nina Tortenberg

Nina Totenberg, 2017

National Public Radio’s award-winning legal affairs correspondent and U.S. Supreme Court reporter was our distinguished speaker for 2017.

Captain Chesley (Sully) Sullenberger

Captain Chesley (Sully) Sullenberger, 2016

Captain Chesley (Sully) Sullenberger, Miracle on the Hudson pilot, aviation safety expert and accident investigator, author, speaker, columnist, joined us in 2016.

Anders Fogh Rasmussen

Anders Fogh Rasmussen, 2015

The former Secretary General of NATO, Prime Minister of Denmark, Danish Minister of Economic Affairs spoke at our event in 2015.

Alex S. Jones

Alex S. Jones, 2013

Alex S. Jones, Pulitzer Prize recipient and former director of the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, is one of our past speakers.

James Pinkerton speaks

James P. Pinkerton, 2012

Our lecturer for 2012 was James P. Pinkerton, domestic policy adviser for Presidents Ronald Reagan and G.H.W. Bush; columnist and Fox News contributor.

Elaine Kamarck

Dr. Elaine Kamarck, 2010

Dr. Elaine Kamarck, lecturer in public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and founding director of the Center for Effective Public Management at Brookings Institute, joined us as a distinguished speaker in 2010.