College of Education and Behavioral Sciences News
Robert Ballard to present inaugural address in WKU's Presidential Speaker Series
- WKU News
- Tuesday, September 12th, 2023
Western Kentucky University President Timothy C. Caboni announced renowned marine geologist and deep-sea explorer, Dr. Robert Ballard, as the inaugural speaker for the university’s Presidential Speaker Series. Dr. Ballard will deliver a keynote address, Deep Sea Exploration: Past, Present, and Future, offering a captivating journey through his remarkable career, including his legendary discovery of the Titanic wreck in 1985. His presentation will begin at 7:00 p.m. CDT on Tuesday, October 10, in WKU’s Van Meter Auditorium.
President Caboni noted that Dr. Ballard is the ideal individual to launch the Presidential Speaker Series. “We are thrilled to kick off the series with a true visionary and trailblazer,” he said. “This series reflects our commitment to fostering intellectual curiosity, innovation and lifelong learning. Dr. Ballard’s insights will not only inspire our students, faculty and staff but will also resonate with a broad audience eager to explore the unknown.”
Dr. Ballard is a Professor of Oceanography at the University of Rhode Island. He is among the world’s most well-known deep-sea explorers, having taken part in more than 165 explorations throughout his career. His work has earned him distinctions from the National Geographic Society and the Explorers Club, as well as the National Endowment for the Humanities Medal presented by President George W. Bush. The recipient of 23 Honorary Doctorates, Dr. Ballard also served as a special advisor to director Steven Spielberg on the television show, seaQuest DSV.
While he is undoubtedly best known for discovering perhaps the most famous shipwreck of all time, the R.M.S. Titanic, Dr. Ballard also discovered the German battleship Bismarck and the aircraft carrier USS Yorktown. Additionally, he found the wreck of John F. Kennedy’s PT-109. He also discovered the first hydrothermal vents in the Galapagos Rift in 1977.
Dr. Ballard said that deep-sea discovery has always been his passion. “I grew up wanting to be Captain Nemo from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea,” he said. “I’m honored to be the first speaker in the WKU Presidential Speaker Series, and I look forward to sharing stories of my explorations with the university and Bowling Green community as we dive into the mysteries of the ocean together.”
Dr. Ballard’s autobiography, Into the Deep, was released in 2021, and a National Geographic television special, Bob Ballard: An Explorer’s Life, is currently streaming on Disney+. In 2008, he founded the Ocean Exploration Trust (OET) to explore the ocean and seek new discoveries in the fields of geology, biology, maritime history, archaeology and chemistry while pushing the boundaries of education, outreach and technological innovation. To learn more about Dr. Ballard and OET and to livestream the organization’s expeditions, visit www.nautiluslive.org.
The WKU Presidential Speaker Series will bring to campus influential voices from diverse fields of study including science, arts, technology and public policy. President Caboni noted that the series will complement students’ classroom experiences. “As part of our responsibility to provide a comprehensive experience that extends beyond the classroom, the Presidential Speaker Series will cover a wide range of topics spanning multiple disciplines,” he said. “I hope that this series will contribute to thought-provoking dialogue on campus and intellectual growth in our community.”
The Presidential Speaker Series will provide learning and engagement opportunities for Bowling Green, Warren County and beyond. “We will bring to campus individuals that appeal to a broad audience,” President Caboni noted. “Ideally, learners at all levels, including school-aged children, will benefit from and be inspired by listening to the speakers in this series.”
Dr. Ballard’s presentation is open to WKU students, faculty, staff and the public. Doors will open at 6:15 p.m. Seating is limited and will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. No photography or recording of any kind is permitted during the presentation. For more information about the Presidential Speaker Series, visit www.wku.edu/presidentialspeakerseries.
Contact: Jace Lux, (270) 745-4295
- WKU -
Western Kentucky University prides itself on positioning its students, faculty and staff for long term success. As a student-centered, applied research university, WKU helps students expand on classroom learning by integrating education with real-world applications in the communities we serve. Our hilltop campus is located in Bowling Green, Kentucky, which was recently named by Reader’s Digest as one of the nicest towns in America, just an hour’s drive from Nashville, Tennessee.