Davidson Distinguished Lecture Series


The Davidson Distinguished Lecture Series at Midland College

In May 1996, Steve Davidson and Susan Davidson McClenahan of the Davidson Family Charitable Foundation announced the endowment of the Davidson Distinguished Lecture Series. Twice a year, the Davidson Distinguished Lecture Series, Midland College Foundation and Friends of the Series present speakers whose civic leadership, academic accomplishments and/or public achievements interest, enrich, and enlighten Midland students and citizens. These lectures are FREE to the public. 

The series began with a lecture by David McCullough, Pulitzer Prize-winning historial and author, on March 6, 1997, and this lecture also inaugurated the 25th Anniversary Celebration of Midland College. The Davidson Distinguished Lecture Series presents, twice a year, speakers whose academic accomplishments, civic leadership and/or public achievements will interest, enrich and enlighten Midland students and citizens. To accommodate as many students and community members as possible, the lectures are held on the Midland College campus.

 The Davidson Distinguished Lecture Series 


Gen. David Petraeus (Army, Ret.)

Petraeus D Photo  High Res HEADSHOT

Tuesday, September 25, 2018 
7:30 p.m.
Al G. Langford Chaparral Center

General Petraeus


Commander, U.S. Central Command (2008-2010); Commander, Multinational Force-Iraq (2007-2008). Currently Chairman, KKR Global Institute and a Professor at CUNY's Macaulay Honors College and the University of Southern California

General (U.S. Army, Ret.) David H. Petraeus is one of the most prominent U.S. military figures of the post-9/11 era. During his 37-year career in the United States Army, General Petraeus was widely recognized for his leadership of the Surge in Iraq, which relieved a desperate situation and reduced violence in Iraq by over 85%; for his oversight of the organization that produced the U.S. Army’s counterinsurgency manual and overhauled all aspects of preparing U.S. Army leaders and units for deployment to combat; and for his command of coalition forces in Afghanistan as they reversed the momentum of the Taliban and enabled the commencement of the transition of tasks to Afghan forces and institutions.

A graduate with distinction from the United States Military Academy, General Petraeus is the   only person in U.S. Army history to be the top graduate in both the U.S. Army’s challenging Ranger School and the year-long U.S. Army Command and General Staff College course. He also earned a Ph.D. in an interdisciplinary program of international relations and economics from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and later completed a fellowship at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service.

General Petraeus’ military career was distinguished by significant achievements during assignments in Cold War Europe, Central America, the United States, Haiti, Bosnia, Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan, and the greater Middle East and central Asia. His career culminated with six consecutive commands as a general officer, five of which were in combat, a record believed unmatched in the post-World War II era.

After General Petraeus’ retirement from the military, and following confirmation by the Senate by a vote of 94-0, he served as Director of the CIA, during which time the Agency played the central role in a number of important achievements in the global war on terror, established an overarching strategic campaign plan for the Agency, and pursued initiatives to invest additional resources in the Agency’s most important element, its human capital.

General Petraeus is now a Partner with the global investment firm KKR and the Chairman of the KKR Global Institute, a position he has held for over three years. He was previously a Visiting Professor of Public Policy at the City University of New York’s Macaulay Honors College, is a Judge Widney Professor at the University of Southern California, a Senior Fellow at Harvard University’s Belfer Center, Co-Chairman of the Global Advisory Council of the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars, Senior Vice President of the Royal United Services Institute, and a member of the boards of the Institute for the Study of War, the Atlantic Council, Optiv Inc.,   and 10 veterans service organizations. He is also engaged in personal venture capital investing.

Over the past decade, General Petraeus was named one of America’s 25 Best Leaders by the U.S. News and World Report, a runner-up for Time magazine’s Person of the Year, the Daily Telegraph man of the year, a Time 100 selectee, and one of Foreign Policy magazine’s top 100 public intellectuals. He is a frequent commentator on global security and economic issues, and was Co-Chairman in 2013-2014 of a Council on Foreign Relations Task Force on North America. In recent years, his pieces have been published in the Washington Post, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, USA Today, Foreign Affairs, and Foreign Policy, and he has also appeared frequently on The Charlie Rose Show and various TV news programs and documentaries.

For his past and ongoing intellectual and practical contributions to society, and his lifetime of public service to the United States as both a citizen and a soldier – General Petraeus has received the prestigious Princeton University Madison Medal, the American Enterprise Institute Irving Kristol Award, the National Committee on Foreign Policy George Kennan Award, the Royal United Services Institute Chesney Gold Medal, the OSS Society William Donovan Award, the Hudson Institute James Doolittle Award, and numerous others.


General Petraeus has also been awarded numerous U.S. military, State Department, NATO, and United Nations medals, including four awards of the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, the Bronze Star Medal for Valor, the Combat Action Badge, the Ranger Tab, and Master Parachutist Wings. He has also been decorated by 13 foreign countries, as well. He is also the only individual who, while in uniform, threw out the first pitch at a World Series game and did the coin toss at a Super Bowl.


Past Davidson Distinguished Lectures (1997-Present)
Elizabeth Smart Richard Rodriguez    
Dr. Sanjay Gupta Stephen Dubner Bill Nye James Lovell
Blake Mycoskie Ed Viesturs Dr. Michio Kaku Vicente and Marta Fox, with Ruben Navarette
Dr. Jane Goodall Celia Sandys Fareed Zakaria Doris Kearns Goodwin
Dr. Spencer Wells E. O. Wilson Dr. Steven Pinker Col. Eileen Collins
Thomas Cahill Michael Beschloss Ken Burns Bill Bryson
Richard Smith H. W. Brands John Updike Jared Diamond
Dr. Richard Leakey Sandra Day O'Connor David Brooks Ben Stein
Dr. Michael Barenbaum Dr. Neil de Grasse Tyson Alvah Simon Lee Cullum
Anna Deavere Smith Shelby Foote Dr. Kevin Ryan Ken Burns
Bill Moyers James Burke Lynn Ashby Prudence McKenzie
Mark Russell David McCullogh Barak Goodman  

Davidson Distinguished Lecture Series Committee


Kathy Robbins - Chair Michael Makowsky
Rebecca Bell Katy Morrow
Dr. Sonia Ford Luke Musselman
Chris Hightower Fred Newman
Dr. Pamela Howell  Mike Oestmann



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