The orange velvet seats of MU’s Jesse Auditorium began filling up a good half hour before the lights were dimmed—and the cause of such a draw of both the public and press was a member of the press herself.
Globe-trotting, hard-hitting journalist Lisa Ling came to MU Wednesday to speak about her career highlights, to share her outlook on journalism and society’s intake of international news and to promote her new book “Mother Daughter, Sister, Bride: Rituals of Womanhood.”
A special correspondent for “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” National Geographic’s “Explorer” and CNN’s “Planet in Peril,” Ling makes it her mission to raise global awareness, human consciousness and shed light on issues under-covered by mainstream media.
Ling’s visit to MU was this year’s installment of the Delta Gamma sorority, Mu Chapter’s Delta Gamma Foundation Lectureship in Values and Ethics. She was the tenth speaker brought to campus through the program since its beginnings at MU.
“It’s gaining popularity, and we’re always wanting to improve and make it bigger,” said Amanda Klohmann, Delta Gamma director of lectureship. “We want to sell out Jesse.”
But don’t be mislead by this. While the Jesse Auditorium seats were full well up into the balcony last night, admission was free to all MU students. Thanks to the sponsorship of community and Delta Gamma alumnae donors, tickets to the annual fall lectureship are always free to students.
A committee of representatives from Delta Gamma, Missouri Student Association and Mizzou Alumni Association meet annually every spring to brainstorm potential speakers for the upcoming fall. They consider both their very top choices and also more feasible options.
While the committee wanted to book a female speaker who promotes values and ethics in her professional work, the committee wasn’t sure if Lisa Ling would be a realistic option, Klohmann said.
“We didn’t know if we could get her or if her schedule would be reliable, but it’s good we went outside of our comfort boundaries,” Klohmann said. “We’ve gotten really positive feedback.”
And Ling had a dose of positive feedback for the MU community.
“Mizzou rocks…what an amazing (and gorgeous) group of students,” Ling tweeted after her lecture.
Speakers brought to MU through the lectureship in recent years include: “Animal Planet” explorer Jeff Corwin (2008), “The Pursuit of Happyness” author Chris Gardner (2007), first female astronaut Sally Ride and author Mitch Albom.
“I’ve talked to people who are very good at what they do and that rubs off on you,” Klohmann said of her experience as director of lectureship.
Before speaking Wednesday night, Ling signed copies of her book at the MU campus bookstore. Ling chatted with each person in the predominantly female line and willingly posed for pictures.
Co-authored by Joanne Eicher, “Mother, Daughter, Sister, Bride: Rituals of Womanhood” is a window into varying customs and cultures of womanhood as expressed around the world. Featuring photos from the National Geographic archive, the book takes the reader on a journey entailing stops at weddings, coming of age celebrations and other women’s ritual practices both new and old.
Check out “Missourian” coverage for more details about Ling’s speaking event Wednesday night.