Past Speakers

2015–16 Presidential Lecture Series Speaker

photo of Marybeth Lorbiecki

On February 4, 2016, Marybeth Lorbiecki, director of the Interfaith Ocean Ethics Campaign (IOEC), spoke to Mount Mercy University’s community during her presentation “Mercy and Our Common Home.”

Through her talk, Ms. Lorbiecki asked critical questions at the cross roads of environmentalism and faith. She discussed issues of global environmental concern and the relationship between mercy and care for the earth, our common home.

As director of IOEC, Ms. Lorbiecki has spoken at the United Nations and worked with the Holy See, Pontifical Council of Justice and Peace, and the Alliance of Religions and Conservation, as well as advisers to Pope Francis, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, and the fourteenth Dalai Lama. Ms. Lorbiecki graduated from St. Catherine University with a background in theology and earned a master’s in literature and writing at Minnesota State University, Mankato. Awarded an International Rotarian Scholarship, she pursued post-graduate work in philosophy at the University of Essex, England.

Research on conservationist Aldo Leopold led her to examine the Bible for its teachings. She discovered a faith mandate to care for the land, animals, the poor, and all of God’s creation that was woven through the Old and New Testaments.

2014–15 Presidential Lecture Series Speaker

On February 19, 2015 John L. Allen, Jr., author of Against the Tide: The Radical Leadership of Pope Francis, discussed the pope and the Vatican during the annual Presidential Lecture Series in the Chapel of Mercy. 

His book is a captivating reflection of the pope’s fascinating yet rare humility, compassion and vision for the church. The work focuses on the pope’s actions of welcoming the homeless, assisting the sick and healing the wounded – tasks we are all urged to do.

Mr. Allen, an associate editor at The Boston Globe, specializes in coverage of the Vatican and the Catholic Church, and is a senior Vatican analyst for CNN. In addition, he is the author of nine books focused on Catholic affairs and was previously a correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter.

The evening was compelling. We learned about Pope Francis and his leadership from a journalist who is widely hailed as a best-sourced and vastly knowledgeable Vatican reporter.

2012–13 Presidential Lecture Series Speaker

John Smith, Chairman of the Board at CRST International, served as the keynote speaker for the fourth annual Mount Mercy University Presidential Lecture Series on Friday, Sept. 13, 2013.

A key leader within the Cedar Rapids community, John Smith has been a fixture on the Corridor Business Journal’s list of the most influential people, and in 2011, he and his wife Dyan were named the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation’s Philanthropists of the Year. In his presentation, The Path to Leadership, Smith addressed the history of CRST and his involvement and leadership in the company, his leadership in the community, and his leadership in higher education.

2011–12 Presidential Lecture Series Speaker

Clay Jones

On March 20, 2012 Mount Mercy University welcomed Clay Jones, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Rockwell Collins, who spoke on "Globalization: The Good, the Bad, and the Undeniable."

Hailed by the Corridor Business Journal as the most influential person in the Corridor, Jones has served as Rockwell Collins’ leader since June 2002.

Jones joined the company in 1979 after completing service in the U.S. Air Force as a fighter pilot. In 1982, Rockwell Collins sponsored him for a fellowship in a White House Executive Exchange program. He worked in Rockwell Collins’ Government Operations Office in Washington, D.C., from 1988 to 1995, where he was responsible for the space and aircraft systems business areas as vice president of Aerospace Government Affairs and Marketing.

Prior to his appointment as chairman, chief executive officer and president, Jones represented all Rockwell business to international and domestic customers as a corporate senior vice president of Government Operations and International in Washington, D.C., and then vice president and general manager of Rockwell Collins Air Transport Division.

Locally, Jones serves on the Tippie College of Business Board of Visitors at The University of Iowa and the board of trustees for United Way of East Central Iowa. He is also a member of the Iowa Business Council and the Governor's Iowa Partnership for Economic Progress board.

Jones is a native of Nashville, Tenn., and holds a bachelor's degree from The University of Tennessee and a Master of Business Administration from The George Washington University. Jones serves on the Board of Governors of the Aerospace Industries Association, and is on the board of directors of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. In addition, he is a member of the Business Roundtable, The Business Council, and the President's National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee. Jones is an Honorary Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and is a director of Deere & Company.

2010–11 Presidential Lecture Series Speaker

Willard L. BoydOn April 5, 2011 Mount Mercy University welcomed Willard L. Boyd, S.J.D. who spoke on "The Role of Charitable Nonprofit Organizations in the United States"

View his speech in its entirety > 

Boyd is the Rawlings-Miller Professor of Law at the University of Iowa and President Emeritus of The University of Iowa and The Field Museum of Chicago. Boyd focuses on the role of nonprofits in Iowa and the United States. He is one of the founders of the Iowa Nonprofit Resource Center. The Center is a university-wide interdisciplinary program involving departments and faculties from across the University who are interested in and engaged with nonprofit organizations. He teaches courses on the legal and operational aspects of nonprofit organizations.

Boyd received his B.S.L and LL.B. degrees from the University of Minnesota and his LL.M. and S.J.D. degrees from the University of Michigan.  He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Law Institute, the Department of State Cultural Property Advisory Committee and the board of National Arts Strategies and chairs the Iowa Cultural Trust.

He has served as Chairman of the American Association of Universities, Chairman of the National Museum Services Board, Chairman of the Council of the Section on Legal Education and Admission to the Bar of the American Bar Association, Chairman of the Center for Research Libraries, (Chicago), Chair of the Harry S. Truman Library Institute, Chair of the Governor's Task Force on the Role of Charitable Nonprofit Organizations in Iowa, Chair of Iowa 2000 (1972-78) and Chair of Imagine Iowa (2001), President of the National Commission on Accrediting, as a member of the National Council on the Arts, the Advisory Board of the Metropolitan Opera, the Advisory Committee for the Getty Education Institute for the Arts, and the Board of Directors of Americans for the Arts, Elderhostel, Illinois Arts and Humanities Councils, the Advisory Board Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs, and Humanities Iowa.

Boyd was one of the first winners of the Charles Frankel Prize awarded in 1989 by the National Endowment for the Humanities, honoring five Americans for their efforts to bring history, literature, philosophy and other humanities disciplines to general audiences. In 1996 he was selected as a Laureate by the Lincoln Academy of Illinois and received The Thomas & Eleanor Wright Award given by the Chicago Commission on Human Relations for individuals whose human relations efforts and activities have spanned all interest lines and for making The Field Museum a place where people of different backgrounds come together for a common reason. The Field Museum received the National Award for Museum Service in 1996 from the Institute of Museum Services. Boyd was the 1998 winner of the Award for Lifetime Services to the Public Humanities given by Humanities Iowa, the State Humanities Council, and received the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Iowa City Human Rights Commission.

2009–10 Presidential Lecture Series Speaker

In 2009, Michael Donovan was Mount Mercy's inaugural Presidential Lecture speaker. Donovan’s speech, titled “Do you have Faith in Law? Why the Fate of Our Laws is Up to You.”

A Cedar Rapids native, Donovan is the son of former Mount Mercy Board of Trustee member Thomas Donovan. He currently serves as an assistant United States attorney with the Department of Justice in Chicago. Donovan is tasked with investigating and prosecuting criminal cases, including major narcotics distribution organizations, street gangs and cartels, white collar fraud, public corruption, and child exploitation. He is a graduate of the the University of Notre Dame and Northwestern University School of Law.