University News

Lecture Board selects George Takei

Takei chosen for starring role on ‘Star Trek,’ activism on LGBTQ and Japanese-American issues

By
Senior Staff Writer
Monday, April 6, 2015

Actor and political activist George Takei will speak on campus April 27, leaders of Brown Lecture Board told The Herald. While best known for his role as Hikaru Sulu on the television series “Star Trek,” Takei is also a major proponent of LGBTQ rights and has won several awards for his commitment to improving Japanese-American relations, said Connor Grieve ’17, co-president of Lecture Board.

“One of the reasons we chose him is because he represents an intersection that we don’t see from a lot of speakers,” said Viet Nguyen ’17, the other co-president of Lecture Board. “He’s a Japanese-American who is part of the LGBTQ community and in the media community,” Nguyen said.

Takei has also garnered a reputation for his quirky personality and active Facebook presence, Nguyen added.

Before choosing Takei as this semester’s speaker, Lecture Board also considered Mindy Kaling, Jane Goodall and Kevin Spacey, Grieve said. The group eventually chose Takei after contacting the potential speakers’ agents and taking finances into consideration, he said.

Lecture Board’s primary goal is to select a speaker, with both a strong message and name recognition, who “will be able to fill Salomon and get the most out of the money we spend,” Grieve added.

“We talked a lot about what kind of speaker we wanted to bring and in the past have had a lot of comedy speakers, but this time we wanted to bring someone who had a clear point … to convey” and whose lecture would ignite conversations on topics not typically discussed, Nguyen said. Takei was the “stand-out” option in terms of these criteria, he added.

During his speech, Takei will discuss the time he and his family spent in a Japanese internment camp in 1942, Grieve said.

Despite the gravity of Takei’s personal experiences, Lecture Board leaders expect his talk to be funny and entertaining. The group especially appreciates that “his comedy is grounded in realism and his own experience,” Nguyen said. “He’s been through a lot and is open to talking about where he is now and his past.”

Allison Schaefer ’17, vice president of campus relations for Lecture Board, noted that Takei is similar to last spring’s panel of speakers because he is committed to social activism, made his name as an actor and is known for his social media personality. Yet his talk will differ from those of past speakers such as Nick Offerman, whose lectures were more focused on television and media, she said. “Takei has more going for him” as a passionate activist, she added.

Tickets to Takei’s lecture will be free for Brown students and available through an online lottery April 19-21. The lottery will open at noon each day and last for one hour. “Tickets usually go pretty quickly,” Grieve said. 

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2 Comments

  1. OH MY

  2. another meme man. give us the internet celebs we like thank you

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