Skeggs Lecture Series to feature Gifford, Kelly

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By Amanda Tonoli


What: Youngstown State University Skeggs Lecture Series

Who: Gabby Giffords and Mark Kelly

When: 7 p.m. next Thursday

Where: Stambaugh Auditorium

Tickets: Call 330-941-2136 or email


Youngstown State University Skeggs Lecture Series will welcome Gabby Giffords and Mark Kelly at 7 p.m. next Thursday in Stambaugh Auditorium.

Giffords, a former U.S. congresswoman, was the target of an assassination attempt in 2011. Kelly, her husband, is a retired NASA astronaut.

“We have wonderful stories, and our speakers always have a lot to share,” said Jackie LeViseur, YSU events director, about the Skeggs Lecture Series.

Giffords represented Arizona’s 8th Congressional District when, in January 2011 she was a victim of an assassination attempt near Tuscon. Six people were killed and 13 injured in the shooting; Giffords suffered a gunshot wound to the head.

Kelly, a retired Navy captain, flew his first space shuttle mission in 2001, and also piloted flights in 2006, 2008 and 2011.

LeViseur said Kelly will be doing a presentation in the Ward Beecher Planetarium before the lecture to give YSU students a chance to interact with a professional in their field.

“It’s just amazing to be able to see students get this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” LeViseur said.

“[And] Gabby’s story has so much to offer with how courageous she is what she went through and how she’s going out encouraging people and sharing her story,” LeViseur said. “[Both speakers and] their topics are about leadership, courage and perseverance. It’s just motivational.”

The presentation is free but requires a ticket to attend. Tickets are available at the Stambaugh box office or online at

Although tickets are almost all taken, LeViseur suggests contacting the events office at YSU at 330-941-2136 or emailing her at

LeViseur added YSU is fortunate to have the Skeggs Family Foundation funding the lecture series at no cost to the university.

“It’s a huge benefit to campus and community,” she said.

In September, Ben Stein, actor, writer, lawyer and political commentator, will join the Skeggs Lecture Series family.

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