The original idea underlying the Levitt Lectures was to provide an annual opportunity for the College of Law to bring to campus truly distinguished speakers from across the United States and around the globe to present major lectures of interest, not only to the legal community, but also to leaders in all walks of life in the state and region.

The Richard S. Levitt Lecture Series is supported by an endowment held by the Iowa Law School Foundation known as the Levitt Family Lectureship Fund. The inaugural Levitt Lecture was held in January 1997.

Past Levitt Lecturers:

  • Spring 1997: Richard Thornburgh, Former Attorney General
  • Spring 1998: Abba Eban, Former Israeli statesman
  • Fall 1998: Elie Wiesel, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate
  • Spring 1999: Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Nobel Peace Prize Winner
  • Fall 1999: John Paul Stevens, US Supreme Court Justice and John Ferren, Washington DC Court of Appeals Judge
  • Spring 2000: John Hume, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate
  • Fall 2001: Janet Reno, Former US Attorney General
  • Spring 2002: David Halberstam, Pulitzer Prize-Winning Journalist and Author
  • Fall 2002: Thomas Friedman, Pulitzer Prize-Winning Columnist
  • Fall 2003: Wesley Clark, Former NATO Commander and Retired Four Star General
  • Spring 2004: Mary Robinson, Former President of Ireland
  • Spring 2005: Irshad Manji, Author of What's the Matter with Islam Today?
  • Fall 2006: Linda Greenhouse, Pulitzer Prize-Winning Journalist
  • Spring 2008: Dr. Shirin Ebadi, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate
  • Spring 2009: Paul Krugman, Nobel Prize Winner in Economics and New York Times Columnist
  • Spring 2010: Scott Turow, Best-Selling Author
  • Spring 2011: Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey Palmer SC, Former Prime Minister of New Zealand
  • Fall 2011: Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser, Founder and President of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD) (co-sponsored with the UI Center for Human Rights and the University Lecture Committee)
  • Fall 2012: Professor Richard Susskind, OBE, Author, Speaker, and Independent Adviser to major professional firms and to national governments on the future of legal and professional services
  • Spring 2014: Professor Richard Epstein, Laurence A. Tisch Professor of Law, NYU and Peter and Kirstein Bedford Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University
  • Fall 2015: Nina Totenberg, Legal Affairs Correspondent, National Public Radio
  • Spring 2016: Floyd Abrams, First Amendment Expert
  • Fall 2016: Jeffrey Toobin, Senior Analyst for CNN and Staff Writer for The New Yorker
  • Fall 2016: Kailash Satyarthi, 2014 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate
  • Fall 2018: Cokie Roberts, Political Commentator for ABC News and NPR
  • Spring 2019: Doris Kearns Goodwin, Presidential Scholar
  • Fall 2019: Van Jones, American news commentator and author
  • Fall 2021, Gretchen Rubin, Best-selling author
  • Spring 2022, Steve Kroft, Award-winning journalist
  • Fall 2022, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, Pulitzer Prize winning journalists and best-selling authors
  • Spring 2023, James Carville and Mary Matalin
  • Fall 2023, Hon. Alan Page, Minnesota Supreme Court Justice and former NFL MVP with the Minnesota Vikings
  • Spring 2024: Judy Woodruff, Award-winning journalist and senior correspondent for PBS NewsHour

For information about the Levitt Lecture, please contact Pam Funke at the College of Law.