Guest Lectures

Spring 2017

2017 Hillard Gold ’39 Lecture

Preparing to be Uncomfortable: A Conversation with Vanessa Wittman

Wednesday, April 19th 6:00pm
McColl Building, Koury Auditorium
UNC-Chapel Hill

Vanessa Wittman, a top financial executive with strong public and private company experience, most recently served as Chief Financial Officer of Dropbox Inc. She went to Dropbox in early 2015 from Motorola Mobility, a Google company, where she served as Senior Vice President and CFO. Prior to Google, she was CFO and Executive Vice President at Marsh & McLennan Companies, and helped resolve the Adelphia Communications bankruptcy as its EVP and CFO.  Previous roles include corporate development at Microsoft, venture capital at Sterling Payot and investment banking at Morgan Stanley. Ms. Wittman currently serves on the Boards of Sirius XM and Ulta Beauty, acts as a special advisor to Facebook’s Building 8, and is as an independent member of FIFA’s Finance Committee. Ms. Wittman played Varsity Women’s Tennis at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, where she graduated cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa with B.S. in Business Administration in 1989.  In 1993, she received an MBA from the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia, where she was a Shermet Scholar. Ms. Wittman will share her thoughts on preparing to be uncomfortable during a discussion with James Leloudis, Professor of History, Associate Dean for Honors Carolina, and Director for the James M. Johnston Center for Undergraduate Excellence in the College of Arts and Sciences. The Hillard Gold ’39 Lecture was established by alumni James and Jonathan Gold to honor the memory of their father, Hillard Gold, a member of the UNC Class of 1939.

 

2017 Frank Porter Graham Lecture 

Christopher Laurent, VisionFund International

Christopher Laurent is the Chief Financial Officer of VisionFund International, the microfinance division of World Vision International, a global humanitarian aid organization. Based in London, he is responsible for a 32-country microfinance network that reaches 1.5 million clients — three-quarters of whom are women — and impacts the lives of 4.4 million children. He earned his Master of Accounting and B.S. in Business Administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Wednesday, February 1st 7:00 pm
Nelson Mandela Auditorium
FedEx Global Education Center
UNC-Chapel Hill

The Frank Porter Graham Lecture honors the late U.S. Senator and president of the University of North Carolina, who was a champion of freedom, democracy,
and the disadvantaged. The lecture is made possible by the gift of Taylor McMillan ’60, who established the Frank Porter Graham Lecture Series.

 

Honors Carolina sponsors several notable guest lectures each year, including the Frank Porter Graham Lecture, the Hillard Gold ’39 Lecture, and the Morehead-Cain Visiting Distinguished Professor Lecture.

Past speakers have included:

  • Frank Bruni, New York Times OpEd columnist and best-selling author
  • Ping Fu, co-founder of the 3D software company Geomagic and a member of President Obama’s National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship
  • Robbie Bach, a former Microsoft executive who led development of the Xbox
  • David Simon, creator of The Wire on HBO
  • Jonathan Reckford, CEO of Habitat for Humanity
  • Robert Gibbs, former White House Press Secretary

Honors Carolina students have opportunities to meet with speakers for small-group discussions prior to the public lectures.

Check back for information regarding upcoming lectures.