About the Lecture Series

The Iowa State Lecture Series is a collaborative effort between the Student Government and the Office of the Provost. The Lecture Series brings to campus a broad spectrum of talks; political debates; academic forums; and cultural events, including musical performances, art and dance programs, and films. All Lecture Series events are free and open to the public.

The Student Government provides funding that is allocated by the Committee on Lectures, which is comprised of students, faculty, and staff. The Committee sponsors events and provides funding to events sponsored by other units on campus. University-recognized student organizations may apply once an academic year for funding from the Committee to bring in a speaker. Funding may be used for honorariums (speaker fees), travel, and other related expenses.

The Lectures Program is an administrative unit within the Office of the Provost that manages the Lectures Series events. In addition, the Lectures Program staff supports other student organizations and university units planning events on campus. Lectures Program staff advises students, faculty, and administrative offices on travel and logistics for visiting scholars, artists, public officials, and professionals speaking on a range of topics. They assist with researching speakers and topics, scheduling and room reservations, fee negotiations, and fundraising. The Lectures Program staff oversees the financial, promotional, and technical arrangements for the events that the Lecture Series cosponsors.

Free Expression Statement

The Committee on Lectures, comprised primarily of students and funded by Iowa State’s Student Government, works with program staff, campus units, co-sponsors, and student organizations to select and bring speakers to campus. The Committee supports diverse viewpoints on topics of interest to the university community, consistent with the university’s commitment to the First Amendment, while acknowledging some members will have strong views for, or against, certain speakers.


The Committee on Lectures was established in 1958 with a series of four speakers and an annual programming budget of less than $5,000, operating out of an English professor’s office. Today, the Lecture Series includes the Committee on Lectures and the Lectures Program office, which sponsor, cosponsor and facilitate more than 80 events each year.

Iowa State University’s Lecture Series is unique in that it combines the cooperative efforts of students, faculty, and staff with the advantages of a centralized office jointly financed by the university and Student Government. This successful collaboration and a focus on excellence ensure a quality program that has been honored by the International Platform Association with their Drew Pearson Award and the National Association of Campus Activities Distinguished Lecture Program.