North Texas Daily

UNT to begin National Security speaker series

UNT to begin National Security speaker series

UNT to begin National Security speaker series
December 02
08:41 2013

Andrew Freeman / Staff Writer

The Tower Club in Dallas will host the first of three speakers Tuesday afternoon as part of UNT’s new Kuehne Speaker Series on National Security.

The purpose of the series is to highlight UNT’s programming in military history, political science, economics, peace policy studies and cyber security.

The first lecture is titled, “Sailing the Cyber Sea: The New Realities of 21st Century,” and it will be given by retired Admiral James Stavridis, chairman of the U.S. Naval Institute Board of Directors.

“It’s really fantastic,” UNT Vice President of Advancement Michael Monticino said. “It’s not just highlighting the programs at UNT, but UNT and its community in Dallas.”


UNT alumnus Ernie W. Kuehne Jr. donated $300,000 to fund the Kuehne Speaker
Series on National Security. The series will highlight some of UNT’s political science
and history programs and will present three speakers a year. Photo courtesy of Jamie Blanton

The speaker series was made possible by a $300,000 pledge by UNT alumnus Ernie W. Kuehne, who has donated more than $2 million to UNT in his life.

“I’m someone who is gracious for what the university did for me, and I just want to give back,” said Kuehne, who graduated in 1966 with a degree in political science. “I’m a person who has a vision and shared the vision with Dr. Monticino, and we made it happen.”

Kuehne came to UNT on a track scholarship and has been an avid supporter of the athletics program and the Emerald Eagle scholarship. In January he became a member of the UNT System Board of Regents. In April the university opened the Kuehne Basketball Practice Facility, which was named in his honor after donating $1.4 million to the project.

After his graduation, Kuehne received a law degree from Baylor University in 1969, and he is currently president and board chairman of Kuehne Oil Co.

“He benefited from this university on all sides,” Athletic Director Rick Villarreal said. “He just wants to make a difference.”

The speaker series, which had been discussed several times and was even attempted 15 years ago by Kuehne, will be hosted by the College of Arts and Sciences in collaboration with the Division of Advancement.

“This is something we’ve been looking at starting for a while,” Monticino said. “We have an incredible array of speakers for this first year. I couldn’t have asked for a better list of speakers to kick off with.”

With cyber security being such a hot topic these days, the Division of Advancement and Kuehne both said they hope to see UNT lead the way in the field.

“We want to turn the corner as a research institute for cyber security and public policy,” Kuehne said. “I hope we can endow some cherish for professors who have the credentials to carry the project.”

After the first lecture tomorrow, the following lectures will not be held until next semester. On Feb. 4 the speaker will be General Michael Hayden, retired U.S. Air Force four-star general and former director of the National Security Agency and director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

Robert D. Kaplan will speak on May 6. Kaplan is an author and geopolitical analyst, as well as one of the world’s “Top 100 Global Thinkers” according to Foreign Policy Magazine.

“The whole [idea] of what we’re doing is to promote a greater awareness of public policy,” Kuehne said. “I think we have the colleges that can leverage the material.”

Feature photo: Retired Admiral James Stavridis is the first speaker in the series. He is the chairman of the U.S. Naval Institute Board of Directors and was the first Navy officer who also served as the commander of the U.S. European Command and NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe. He is set to speak this Tuesday at 1 p.m. at the Tower Club, 1601 Elm Street in Dallas. Photo courtesy of Jamie Blanton 

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