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Spacey, Legend, Pulitzer Prize-winning author highlight UB speaker series for 2015-16

An Academy Award-winning actor, a popular singer-songwriter and a Pulitzer Prize winner headline the list of speakers for the University at Buffalo’s 2015-16 Distinguished Speakers Series.

Actor Kevin Spacey, star of the political drama “House of Cards” on Netflix who has won Academy Awards for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor, will close out the series April 27 at Alumni Arena on the North Campus in Amherst, the university announced Monday. Spacey was the choice of undergraduates and graduates at UB.

John Legend – singer, songwriter and multiple Grammy Award winner – will speak at UB on Nov. 18. He was chosen by the undergraduates.

And Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee, the author whose “The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer” won a Pulitzer Prize for general nonfiction in 2011,” will speak April 6 . That event is sponsored by Roswell Park Cancer Institute.

The 29th annual series kicks off Sept. 16 with actress and transgender advocate Laverne Cox, best known for her role on the series “Orange Is the New Black.”

Liz Murray, author of “Breaking Night: A Memoir of Forgiveness, Survival and My Journey from Homeless to Harvard,” will address UB on Oct. 14. Murray is this year’s “UB Reads” selection.

Rounding out the list of speakers is Charles J. Ogletree Jr., an internationally known legal scholar, who will present UB’s 40th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration on Feb. 11.

All of the programs will begin at 8 p.m. in Alumni Arena.

“For nearly 30 years, the Distinguished Speakers Series at UB has played a vital role in fostering dialogue and discovery by sharing a broad range of ideas and perspectives from some of the most compelling and influential voices of our time,” said Dennis R. Black, UB vice president for university life and services. “… From leading voices in social commentary and politics to pioneers of exploration and innovation in technology to prominent public intellectuals and thinkers, they are certain to spark intellectual curiosity, further dialogue and inspire new lines of inquiry across our campus and throughout the community.”

Tickets for individual lectures will go on sale Aug. 21. Subscription orders may be placed after Aug. 3. Purchase options and instructions will be available at