Each semester brings a new Michael Lester Wendt Character Lecture. During this event, guest lecturers speak to the community about integrity, justice, compassion, and other topics of character.

Coming up, Marcus Eriksen, environmental scientist, educator, and author, will deliver the Spring 2022 Wendt Character Lecture on March 14, 2022, 7:00 p.m., in John and Alice Butler Hall, Heritage Center, Univesrsity of Dubuque. For venue information, call 563.585.7469.

Eriksen is committed to building stronger communities through art, science, adventure and activism. His books, My River Home and Junk Raft, chronicle rafting adventures down the Mississippi River and across oceans, and highlight his experience as a veteran of war and a scientist for conservation. He is the co-founder of the 5 Gyres Institute, which fights the global crisis of plastic pollution, and more recently co-founded LEAP LAB, a science center demonstrating the path toward urban resilience.

Recent Speakers

Some recent Wendt Character Lecturers include:

  • Kaitlin Curtice, an enrolled citizen of the Potawatomi Nation and a Christian, author of Native and Glory Happening
  • David M. Bailey, public theologian, culture-maker, and strategist on topics of cultural intelligence and reconciliation
  • Justin Skeesuck & Patrick Gray, best-selling authors of I'll Push You: A Journey of 500 Miles, Two Best Friends, and One Wheelchair and founders of Push, Inc.
  • Alex Kotlowitz, Award-winning Journalist and Best-selling Author of An American Summer and There are No Children Here
  • Sarah Thebarge, Author of The Invisible Girls and Well, P.A., Volunteer, Cancer Survivor
  • Claude Chester, Retired Warden of United States Penitentiary, Leavenworth
  • Dr. Brian J. Walsh - Co-author of Beyond Homelessness: Christian Faith in a Culture of Displacement and The Transforming Vision: Shaping a Christian World View
  • Bill O'Rourke - Former President of Alcoa-Russia, Alcoa Executive and Attorney; Veteran; Business Ethics Advisor to Boards and Universities
  • Dr. Quentin Schultze - Communication Professor, Author, Speaker, Mentor
  • Father Greg Boyle, S.J. - Founder and Executive Director of Homeboy Industries and Author of Tattoos on the Heart
  • Rais Bhuiyan - Peace Activist and Founder of World Without Hate
  • Sister Helen Prejean, C.S.J. - Death Penalty Abolitionist and Author of Dead Man Walking
  • Nontombi Naomi Tutu - Race and Gender Justice Advocate and Daughter of Archbishop Desmond Tutu
  • Nicholas Carr - Author of The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains
  • George Will - Pulitzer Prize-winning Author and Columnist