tracking pixel

Lecture Speakers

Bookmark and Share

The Project Series is coming to a close for the current academic year, so only the last few speakers are listed.

Barbara Gottschalk, Vice President, Seeds of Peace
March 9

Seeds of Peace is an organization that brings together young people from Israel, Palestine, and other troubled areas for experience in living together peacefully. The organization has a summer camp in the United States and a Center for Coexistence in Jerusalem. More than 2,000 participants have graduated from the camp in Maine and then returned to their regions for regular meetings and coexistence programs. Gottschalk also has directed social service agencies responsible for treatment of people with mental and physical disabilities.

Ronald Roberts, PhD, University of Northern Iowa (Ret.)
March 28

Roberts was born in Chariton, Iowa and attended elementary and secondary school in Moline, Illinois, and Lucas, Iowa. He received an Associate of Arts degree from Graceland College in 1959; a bachelor's degree from Drake University in 1961; and a master's degree (1964) and a PhD (1969) from Louisiana State University.

Roberts worked as a social caseworker, a researcher, and a college instructor before he began teaching at the University of Northern Iowa in 1969. He taught a number of courses including Principles of Sociology, Minority Group Relations, Social Problems, Conflict Resolution, and Peace Studies. He published widely, but his research focused early on communal living and then later on John L. Lewis and coal mining. He retired from UNI in 2001.

Wilbert Rideau
April 5

After killing a woman following a bank robbery, then-19-year-old Wilbert Rideau was tried and sentenced to death. He served 44 years in Louisiana prisons, mainly in the notorious Louisiana State Penitentiary, a.k.a. Angola Prison. Of those 44 years, he spent 12 years on death row and 11 years in solitary confinement. He had four trials during his imprisonment.

While incarcerated, Rideau became editor of the prison news magazine The Angolite, which under his leadership became an uncensored, daring, and crusading journal that won accolades, including Rideau's George Polk Journalism Award in 1979. Still in prison, Rideau corresponded for National Public Radio, collaborated on ''In for Life'' for ABC's Day One TV news magazine, and co-directed the Academy Award-nominated documentary film, The Farm: Angola, USA. In 1993, Rideau was described by Life magazine as "the most rehabilitated prisoner in America."

A jury acquitted Rideau of murder in 2005 and convicted him of the lesser crime of manslaughter, punishable by a 21-year prison sentence. Since he already had served 44 years, he was immediately freed.

Today, Rideau lectures around the country at journalism schools, law institutions, and law conferences. He recently spoke at Zócalo Public Square in Los Angeles, where he discussed the importance of prison reform. In addition to writing and speaking, Rideau currently works as a consultant to capital defense teams in both federal and state cases around the country. He lives with his wife in Louisiana, where he treasures his freedom, tends his garden, and trains for a marathon.