The Festival of Ideas, an initiative that began in 2019, focuses on the University’s
role as a thought leader in the region and beyond. The Festival provides the opportunity
for the exchange of ideas, information, and experiences between unique speakers, faculty
experts, staff, students, community members, and alumni around a central theme. The
Festival is sponsored by the Office of the President, the Office of the Provost, and
the Division of Student Life and Enrollment.
Tickets for an Evening with Jon Meacham - SOLD OUT!
In November of 2013, Melissa Fitzgerald joined the National Association of Drug Court
Professionals (NADCP) as senior director of Justice For Vets. She has expanded her
role as director of NADCP’s recently launched Advancing Justice Initiative to lead
As an actor, Ms. Fitzgerald is best known for her seven-year role as Carol on the
award-winning television series The West Wing. She is also widely recognized as an
advocate for people in need. She co-founded Voices in Harmony, a theater-focused mentoring
organization for underserved teens. She then took Voices in Harmony to war-torn northern
Uganda to work with former abducted child soldiers, an effort that resulted in the
award-winning documentary After Kony: Staging Hope. She is also the co-executive producer
of Halfway Home, a film that profiles several returning veterans as they share their
struggles reintegrating after experiencing the trauma of war.
Ms. Fitzgerald is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, has been published
in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Huffington Post and has made numerous
media appearances on behalf of NADCP/Justice For Vets, including Hardball with Chris
Matthews, Morning Joe, CBS Sunday Morning and NPR. In 2017, she received the Secretary
of the Army’s Public Service Medal.
Harvey is an American jazz and pop singer/singwriter who overcame profound deafness
to become a contestant on America's Got Talent. She now writes music and performs,
including headlining a series of concerts to benefit Hearing the Call, a non-profit
that sends audiologists around the world to help people access proper health care.
She was diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS), and her hearing loss is related
By the People, for the People: Campus and Community Perspectives on Voting
Wednesday, February 12, 2020
Reece Museum, Noon
Moderated by WJHL news anchor Josh Smith, the panel includes Nathan Farnor, Joy Fulkerson,
Stephen Hendrix, and Dr. Jodi Polaha Jones.
Songs of America
Thursday, February 13, 2020
Millennium Center Ballroom, 7:00 p.m.
Jon Meacham is a Pulitzer-prize winning presidential biographer and historian and
a well recognized television commentator. His most recent book, co-authored with Grammy-winning
singer Tim McGraw, is Songs of America: Patriotism, Protest, and the Music That Made a Nation. A Billboard review notes that the “book’s eight chapters each speak to an American
era—such as the Revolutionary War, the Civil War and the Civil Rights Movement…. The
tunes, often in support or protest of a movement, give shape to the way that music
tells the history of America as much as wars, economic instability and social agitation
Mike Wiley is a playwright, director, and actor. His plays explore the lives and legacies
of historically-important figures including Emmett Till, Jackie Robinson, the Freedom
Riders, and Henry "Box" Brown. Wiley has a Masters of Fine Arts from the University
of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and was the 2010 & 2014 Lehman Brady Visiting Joint
Chair Professor in Documentary Studies and American Studies at Duke University and
UNC Chapel Hill. Wiley will perform Breach of Peace on Friday, February 14th, 2020.
The play is based upon true accounts of surviving participants of the Freedom Rides
and others involved in the early struggle for African-American equality.
Most Festival events are free and open to the public without reservation. Some events may require ticket purchase. For more information, or to request accommodations for persons with disabilities,
contact the ETSU Office of Student Life & Enrollment at 423-439-4210 or firstname.lastname@example.org.