Landon Lecture to Welcome ESPN Boss

John Skipper

John Skipper

Kansas State University’s first Landon Lecture of 2014 will feature John Skipper, president of ESPN Inc. and co-chairman of Disney Media Networks, as well as three prominent figures in collegiate athletics.

The lecture will be at 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 2, in McCain Auditorium. It will be in a Q-and-A format with Skipper; Bob Bowlsby, Big 12 Conference commissioner; DeLoss Dodds, retired athletic director of the University of Texas; and Kirk Schulz, Kansas State University president and a member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association Executive Committee and its board of directors.

John Currie, Kansas State University’s athletic director, will moderate the lecture.

“The Landon Lecture Series has a rich history of spotlighting some of the most influential leaders from diverse fields,” said Jackie Hartman, the university’s chief of staff and director of community relations. “One of the thematic goals of K-State 2025 is strengthening the interconnectivity between intercollegiate athletics and the campus community. The panel will undoubtedly bring insight that will benefit the university in accomplishing this goal.”

Skipper has served as ESPN president and co-chairman of Disney Media Network since January 2012. In the position, he led ESPN to securing agreements with major rights holders as well as increasing ESPN’s profile in the digital media landscape. Since 2005, he has been executive vice president of content for the sports network. He joined EPSN in June 1997, where he oversaw the launch of ESPN The Magazine in March 1998.

Before joining ESPN, Skipper served for nearly three years at senior vice president of the Disney Publishing Group, where he oversaw all of Disney’s magazines, book and licensed publishing operations in the U.S. He also spent 10 years at Straight Arrow Publishing and a year as president and publishing director for Spin magazine. He received a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in English literature from the University of North Carolina and Columbia University, respectively.

Bowlsby began as commissioner of the Big 12 Conference in 2012. In his first year, he secured one of the conference’s most lucrative television deals, finalized the Champions Bowl and saw three national championships added to the Big 12 trophy case and 12 individuals earn NCAA crowns.

Bowlsby has served as the athletic director at the University of Northern Iowa, University of Iowa and Stanford University. In 2006, he was selected as the NCAA Basketball Selection Committee head and also was part of the United States Olympic Committee for the 2008 Summer Olympics. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Moorhead State University and his master’s degree from the University of Iowa.

Dodds began as athletic director for the University of Texas, Austin in fall 1981, retiring in November 2013. In that time he saw the university win 13 national championships and 103 conference titles. He graduated from Kansas State University in 1959 with a degree in physical education. He went on to build a rich legacy at the university.
In 1961, Dodds joined Kansas State University as the assistant track coach and served as head track coach from 1963-1976. During that time he guided the university to six Big Eight Conference championships. He served as Kansas State University’s athletic director from 1978-1981. In 2006, he was inducted into the U.S. Track Coaches Hall of Fame for his accomplishments with Kansas State University. His honors also include being named the 2011 Athletic Director of the Year.

Schulz was selected as the 13th president of Kansas State University in 2009. In his first three years he initiated K-State 2025, a campuswide goal moving Kansas State University forward as a Top 50 public research university by 2025. He has seen annual records in fundraising, enrollment and diversity.

In 2013, Schulz was appointed to the NCAA Executive Committee — the highest governance body in the NCAA – in addition to representing the Big 12 Conference on the NCAA Division I board of directors. In these positions, he helps oversee that each NCAA division follows the association’s core values, policies and principles. He received his bachelor’s degree and doctorate in chemical engineering from Virginia Tech.

Since 1966, the Alfred M. Landon Lecture Series of Public Issues has brought high-profile speakers to Kansas State University. Alfred Landon served two consecutive terms as Kansas governor and was the 1936 Republic Party nominee for president of the United States.


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