The Tate Lecture Series is in its 38th season at Southern Methodist University. For 38 years, it has brought some of the most influential politicians, philanthropists and successful world-changers to campus to encourage and provoke our future world-changers. 

Lectures begin at 8 p.m. on the evening they are scheduled.

Students who are interested in going to the lecture should meet in the basement of McFarlin Auditorium at 7 p.m.


Student Foundation provides ushers for every lecture.

2019-2020 Schedule

September 24: Robert Gates and Adm. James Stavridis with David Gergen

Political commentator David Gergen returns to the Tate stage for a conversation with two renowned foreign policy and national security experts. Robert Gates served as the 22nd U.S. Secretary of Defense under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. Adm. James Stavridis served as NATO’s 16th Supreme Allied Commander Europe and is chief international security analyst for NBC.

October 29: Shiza Shahid

Shiza Shahid is changing the world, one mission-driven start-up at a time. In 2013, she co-founded the Malala Fund with her friend, Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai, to break down education barriers for more than 130 million girls around the globe. Since then, she launched NOW Ventures, a venture capital firm focused on seed funding for new companies committed to improving lives. She also hosts the cross-platform show, ASPIREist, which inspires millennials to take action on the issues that matter most.

November 12: Raj Chetty

Raj Chetty studies some of our society’s most complex issues – equality, education and government policy – through the powerful lens of economics. A MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship recipient, he has been described as “the single most influential economist in the world today.” As director of Harvard University's Opportunity Insights, he brings together researchers and policy analysts and optimizes big data to develop scalable solutions that will empower families throughout the U.S. to rise out of poverty and achieve better life outcomes

December 3: David Rubenstein

A billionaire with a generous heart, David Rubenstein is the co-founder and co-executive chairman of The Carlyle Group, one of the world’s largest private equity firms, and, as an original signer of the Giving Pledge, has committed the majority of his wealth to philanthropy. The thread of public service winds throughout his career, starting with a stint in the Carter administration and continuing now as the chair of the Smithsonian Institution, the Council on Foreign Relations and other boards.

January 27: Misty Copeland

Misty Copeland dances between the worlds of pop icon and prima ballerina with style and grace. As the first African-American woman to be promoted to principal dancer with the prestigious American Ballet Theatre, she shattered stereotypes and reshaped the future of her profession. Copeland continues to change the face of ballet through mentorship of other dancers and work around the globe with disadvantaged youth. She’s also the best-selling author of the memoir, Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina.

February 25: Brian Grazer

What do the movie A Beautiful Mind and the television shows 24 and Empire have in common? They’re infused with the energy and creative acumen of Academy Award-winning producer Brian Grazer. One of the few producers with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Grazer serves as chairman of Imagine Entertainment, which he co-founded with Ron Howard. He’s also the best-selling author of A Curious Mind: The Secret to a Bigger Life, an entertaining exploration of the profound effects of curiosity.

March 31: Zanny Minton Beddoes

Named one of the “Most Powerful Women in the World” by Forbes, Zanny Minton Beddoes is editor-in-chief of The Economist. A renowned global economics expert, Beddoes adeptly interprets the impact of new developments in business and industry in the broader context of world events, from emerging markets and the E.U. to corporate America and U.S. politics. The first female editor in The Economist's 170+ year history, she is the recipient of two Loeb Awards for distinguished business and financial journalism.

May 5: David Axelrod and Karl Rove

The master strategists reach across the aisle to demystify the political campaign process and discuss the issues, just six months before the 2020 U.S. presidential election. David Axelrod served as senior advisor to President Barack Obama and hosts The Axe Files podcast. Karl Rove, former deputy chief of staff and senior advisor under President George W. Bush, writes a weekly column for The Wall Street Journal. Together, they share a deep commitment to the democratic process.


2019 tate committee

Tate Chair - Allison Schultz

Head Usher - Abba Yaney

Head of Marketing - Adelaide Villasana

Vice President of Programming - Dylan Beams