Anderson Cooper to Deliver Skeggs Lecture Saturday

By Sam Phillips

When Anderson Cooper comes to the Stambaugh Auditorium on Saturday to deliver the Skeggs Lecture, Jeff Tyus, professor in the department of communication, will get to interview him on stage.

“My biggest thing is I want to make sure I do it the right way,” Tyus said.

Anderson Cooper speaks during a program moderated by Krys Boyd of KERA as part of the Mavericks Speaker Series at the University of Texas at Arlington, Texas, Feb. 10, 2014. (Richard W. Rodriguez/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/MCT)

While Tyus said he isn’t the type of person to get star struck around celebrities, he is excited for the chance to interview Cooper. He has been researching his work and watching his interviews to prepare for the event.

“A lot of people are interested to hear what he has to say and his life,” Tyus said.

The Skeggs Lecture began in 1966, and the series — funded by the Skeggs family — has featured Jane Goodall and Ronald Reagan in the past. They are held twice annually, one during each semester. Novelist Margaret Atwood will speak in the spring.

While the lectures are always popular, this is the first time one has sold out in 40 minutes.

Cary Wecht, associate dean of the College of Creative Arts and Communications, said students should take advantage of the lectures.

“The generosity of the Skeggs family has given YSU students the opportunity to see, hear, question and, in some cases, meet modern day icons,” Wecht said. “It’s a luxury to have free access to some of the most influential and provocative personalities of our time.”

Jackie LeViseur, director of University Events, said the board meets once or twice a year to discuss future speakers.

“We do research to see who is available, and we go from there,” LeViseur said. “[We] see what’s a hot topic, and see if a speaker can come to Youngstown.”

LeViseur said they are open to suggestions for future lecturers.

“If people have any ideas or preferences or speakers, I’d be happy to hear them,” she said. “We want input from students about who they want to hear from.”

The lectures are typically held on weekdays, but Cooper’s schedule required this one to be scheduled for a Saturday. His schedule will also require him to forgo the traditional dinner and press conference prior to the event.

He will take questions from the audience following the lecture and discussion with Tyus.

“His agent said he’s pretty much willing to go over any topic,” LeViseur said. “His coverage of [hurricane] Katrina is a huge part of his work history, so I’m sure that will come up. And Iraq.”

She also predicted that the current presidential campaign would come up. Cooper will be moderating the second presidential debate on Oct. 9 in St. Louis.