'Shark Tank' Star and Top Political Experts to Speak at U of A in February

Entrepreneur and Shark Tank personality Daymond John and the adversarial political colleagues Ari Fleischer and David Axelrod will be the featured speakers in two student-funded Distinguished Lectures in February.

Daymond John will speak at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 18, at the Fayetteville Town Center on the downtown Fayetteville Square. The lecture is free and open to the public. No tickets are required.

Ari Fleischer, the former press secretary for President George W. Bush, and David Axelrod, former senior adviser to President Barack Obama, will talk politics less than a week before the Arkansas presidential primary, speaking at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 25, in Bud Walton Arena. This lecture is also free and open to the public, with no tickets required.

Both lectures will be followed by question and answer sessions.

The Distinguished Lecture Series is a student-sponsored program. Speakers are chosen by a committee of students, faculty and staff, and the events are funded by a student-approved fee, appropriated by the Programs Allocation Board.


Daymond John is the founder and chief executive officer of the clothing company FUBU – “for us, by us” – which he started with friends in his mother’s basement in Queens, New York, and is now a $6 billion brand. He joined the Emmy award-winning reality series Shark Tank in 2009. On the program John and four other business executives hear business pitches from everyday people, and decide whether or not to invest money in their projects.

John also works as a consultant and motivational speaker, sharing his expertise with everyone from students and aspiring entrepreneurs to small business owners and CEOs of major corporations.


Ari Fleischer was White House press secretary for President George W. Bush from January 2001 to July 2003, serving in the time following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. He had a lengthy career as press secretary for several members of Congress and as spokesman for the Ways and Means Committee for the U.S. House of Representatives. He currently runs Ari Fleischer Sports Communications, and has worked as media consultant for the College Football Playoff Selection Committee.

David Axelrod served as chief strategist for Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign. He was appointed senior adviser to the president following the election, leaving in 2011 to lead Obama's successful re-election campaign. He currently serves as the director of the non-partisan Institute of Politics at the University of Chicago and is a senior political commentator for CNN.

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With a students-first philosophy, the Office of Student Activities provides an environment for involvement, empowerment, and collaboration through student organizations, programmatic experiences, and shared governance. OSA maximizes the UA experience by advocating for all students, promoting intercultural understanding, and developing citizens who are prepared to positively impact their communities.

The Office of Student Activities provides many different opportunities for students to get involved on campus. The main goal of the Office of Student Activities is to provide students with educational, cultural and social programs. All of our programs are planned and implemented by students. The Office of Student Activities is responsible for the following areas:

University Programs (UP)

University Programs (UP) is a volunteer student organization responsible for coordinating and planning over 200 events annually for the campus community. University Programs provides UA students with cultural, educational, recreational, and entertainment experiences. Eight committees along with committee chairs and their executive officers select, schedule, and produce events such as concerts, movies, lectures, fine arts performances, and gallery exhibits. University Programs provides excellent opportunities to develop leadership skills and to gain practical experience in a variety of areas. Supported by an activity fee instituted in 1988, the majority of the events are free to the student body.

Headliner Concerts Committee (HCC)

Headliner Concerts Committee (HCC), which is composed primarily of students, gets to make the decision on what big-name artist to bring to campus each year. Because you have already paid a per-credit-hour fee to support this committee, when concert day arrives there is NO admission fee for students. Previous headliners include Grammy winning artists John Mayer, Foo Fighters, rapper T.I., Blake Shelton, Third Eye Blind, Snoop Dogg, The Flaming Lips, Kip Moore, and More!

Distinguished Lectures Committee (DLC)

Distinguished Lectures Committee (DLC) decides which dynamic and pertinent speakers to bring to the University of Arkansas campus. These speaking engagements are completely free to all students. Some of the speakers brought over the past few years have been President George H.W. Bush, CNN anchor Anderson Cooper, basketball icon Magic Johnson, author Malcolm Gladwell, Jane Goodall, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Elie Wiesel, Steve Wozniak, and John Legend.

Associated Student Government

The Associated Student Government shall act as an organized voice for all students of the University of Arkansas, to effectively represent students in the University's decision and policy making process and to provide a broad educational experience for students, while promoting citizenship on campus and in the greater community. In doing so, ASG knowingly and responsibly recognizes the students' roles in the shared governance of the University of Arkansas.

Registered Student Organizations

Did you know that there are about 400 Registered Student Organizations (RSOs) on campus? You'll make new friends, explore your interests, and have an unforgettable college experience as an RSO member. If you can't find an existing RSO that meets your interests, you can even start your own!