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Melinda Gates, Jamie Dimon, Darren Walker and Others Highlight LBJ School’s 50th Anniversary

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AUSTIN, Texas — Fifty years ago this fall, the Lyndon B. Johnson (LBJ) School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin opened its doors to educate young people to become bold “thinkers and doers.” To commemorate President Lyndon Johnson’s founding vision and to celebrate its 50th anniversary, the LBJ School will present two virtual forums showcasing prominent global leaders who personify Johnson and inspire the next generation to creatively take on the world’s most important challenges.

The forums, at 7 p.m. (CT) on Monday, Oct. 5, and Monday, Oct. 12, will explore big ideas and fresh solutions around today’s most pressing issues, including racial justice and equality, voting rights and access, health care, jobs, education, immigration, the environment and the state of democracy — all critical issues that LBJ took on as he implemented the most ambitious legislative agenda in modern history. The forums are designed to generate hope for the future and inspire bold solutions.

“This once-in-a lifetime anniversary reflects the force of 50 years of impact by those who have taught at and attended the LBJ School. It also enables us to forge new pathways to think and act to create a brighter future,” said Angela Evans, dean of the LBJ School. “We thank the LBJ Foundation for its support of this ambitious endeavor and its shared commitment to ignite emerging generations of young people driven by purpose and desire to build a better world.”

The events will feature interviews, videos and “pop-up” segments with VIP guests reading LBJ quotes. At each Forum, Luci Baines Johnson and Lynda Johnson Robb will provide closing remarks.

Register to watch live:


FORUM I: In the Arena: The LBJ Era… to the Present

Monday, Oct. 5 at 7 p.m. (CT)

This forum will open with an inspiring new film, “The Destiny of Democracy.”

  • Session I:A Larger Truth — Darren Walker, President of the Ford Foundation
  • Session II:LBJ’s Legacy in a Digital World — Martine Rothblatt, CEO of United Therapeutics, in conversation with Carla Hayden, 14th Librarian of Congress
  • Session III:Poverty and the Power of Politics — Tom Freston, Chairman of the ONE Campaign and former CEO of Viacom and MTV Networks, interviewed by Pattie Sellers, Co-CEO of SellersEaston Media
  • Session IV:Levers of Power — Rajiv Shah, CEO of The Rockefeller Foundation, in conversation with former top LBJ aide Tom Johnson, Chairman Emeritus of the Board of the Lyndon B. Johnson Foundation; former President of CNN and former CEO and Publisher of the Los Angeles Times and the Dallas Times Herald
  • Session V:Muppet Diplomacy: Helping the World’s Children Dream Bigger — Sherrie Westin, President of Social Impact and Philanthropy at Sesame Workshop, in conversation with Angela Evans, Dean of the LBJ School of Public Affairs
  • Closing: Luci Baines Johnson
FORUM II: In the Arena: Defining a New Destiny

Monday, Oct. 12 at 7 p.m. (CT)

  • Session I:Genius for Good — Melinda Gates, Co-Chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Founder of Pivotal Ventures, in conversation with Pat Mitchell, Chair of the Sundance Institute and Co-Chair of the Women’s Media Center, former CEO of PBS and the Paley Center for Media
  • Session II:Getting to Financial Equity — Jamie Dimon, Chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase, interviewed by Pattie Sellers, Co-CEO of SellersEaston Media
  • Session III:Healing Ourselves —  Ezekiel Emanuel, Vice Provost for Global Initiatives and Chair of the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the University of Pennsylvania, in conversation with Michael Hole, M.D., MBA, faculty member at Dell Medical School and the LBJ School of Public Affairs
  • Session IV:Innovation on the Fringe — Anousheh Ansari, CEO of the XPRIZE Foundation and first Iranian woman in space, in conversation with Nina Easton, Co-CEO of SellersEaston Media
  • Session V:Leadership in the Age of COVID —  William McRaven, U.S. Navy (Ret.), and Professor of National Security at the LBJ School of Public Affairs, to be interviewed by Douglas Brinkley, Author and Katherine Tsanoff Brown Chair in Humanities and Professor of history at Rice University
  • Session VI:Democracy Forward: Building a Culture of Belonging — Stacey Abrams, Founder of Fair Fight Action, and Pete Buttigieg, former presidential candidate and former Mayor of South Bend, Indiana
  • Closing:Lynda Johnson Robb


Stay updated on the LBJ School 50th Anniversary events at LBJ50.org.