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Biden, Rice and Farrow headline UB's Distinguished Speaker Series

Two well-known figures on the national political scene and a journalist whose reporting on sexual harassment allegations helped spur the #MeToo movement will speak at the University at Buffalo in the coming months.

Former Vice President Joe Biden, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Ronan Farrow, the New Yorker writer who shared a Pulitzer Prize for his investigation into claims against Harvey Weinstein, headline UB's 2018-19 Distinguished Speaker Series.

The other speakers in the 32nd year of the series are Peter Diamandis, an entrepreneur and the founder of the XPrize Foundation; Lisa Genova, a neuroscientist and best-selling author; and Angela Davis, the political activist and author.

The speaker series is known for bringing to campus prominent figures from the worlds of politics, academia, business, science, journalism and entertainment.

This year's series kicks off with likely its biggest draw, Biden, who will speak on Oct. 25. Biden, who was vice president during the Obama administration, also served for 36 years as a U.S. senator from Delaware. Since leaving office in January 2017, he has founded the Biden Foundation as well as centers at the universities of Pennsylvania and Delaware.

He is the author of the best-seller “Promise Me, Dad: A Year of Hope, Hardship, and Purpose.”

Rice served as secretary of state during the second term of the George W. Bush presidency, until January 2009, after serving four years as national security adviser.

Rice is a professor of political science at Stanford University. She also is a member of the boards of several companies and is a founding partner of an international strategic consulting firm.

Rice, who concludes the series on April 17, is with Biden the joint student choice speaker for the university. Gunnar Haberl, president of the undergraduate Student Association, said in a statement from UB that students sought diverse political views in this year's speakers.

Farrow, who will speak March 28, shared the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for public service with two New York Times reporters for his investigative reporting into claims against Weinstein. He also has reported on claims against Les Moonves, the CEO of CBS, and former state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

He has worked for MSNBC and NBC News and has a development deal with HBO.

Diamandis will speak Nov. 14. His XPrize Foundation offers incentives to innovators to, for example, send a private spacecraft to the moon or improve the detection and treatment of Alzheimer's disease. He also is co-founder and vice chairman of Human Longevity Inc., a company that wants to help people live longer.

His talk will be streamed live online, a first in the series' history.

Genova is the best-selling author of “Still Alice,” a novel about a Harvard professor who develops early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. It was adapted into a movie starring Julianne Moore, who won an Oscar for best actress in 2015 for her performance.

Genova’s most recent novel, “Every Note Played,” was released this year. Her TED Talk, “What You Can Do to Prevent Alzheimer’s,” has been viewed more than 3 million times. She will speak Dec. 6.

Davis will speak on Feb. 27, when she gives UB’s 43rd annual Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration keynote address. She is the graduate student choice speaker.

She has been an activist and a fighter for social justice for decades, since joining the Black Panthers and an all-black chapter of the Communist Party as a young woman.

Davis has lectured here and abroad and has taught at several universities and colleges. She is a distinguished professor emerita at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

All lectures start at 7:30 p.m. on UB’s North Campus. Series subscriptions and individual tickets go on sale to the general public Sept. 19. For more information, visit www.buffalo.edu/ub-speakers.html. Sponsors include the Donald L. Davis Lectureship Fund and the undergraduate Student Association.

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