Theresa May, former prime minister of the United Kingdom, will present the 100th Ogden Memorial Lecture March 4, according to a Today @ Brown announcement.
President Christina Paxson P’19 will moderate a question-and-answer session with the audience following May’s speech, which is titled “Politics, Populism and Polarization: Perspectives on the Global Economy,” wrote Marisa Quinn, chief of staff to the provost, in an email to The Herald.
Leading the British Conservative Party, May served as prime minister from 2016 to 2019, the second woman in British history to hold the position. As prime minister, May navigated decisions on the Brexit referendum, expanded services for mental health and proposed legislation for environmental protection. May stepped down in 2019 after failing to deliver on Brexit.
While May was prime minister, “the U.K.’s national debt fell, there were more people in work than ever before and taxes were cut for 32 million people,” according to the Ogden website.
In 1997, May was elected to represent her constituency, Maidenhead, in Parliament and has continued to occupy that role for over two decades.
Early in her political career, May worked at her local Conservative Association and as a councilor in the London Borough of Merton, according to the Ogden website. May then served as home secretary of the Conservative Party from 2010 to 2016, the longest term of any Conservative home secretary in the past 100 years. She also co-founded Women2Win, a group that promotes electing more Conservative female members of parliament and “increased involvement of Conservative women in public life,” according to the organization’s website.
May’s speech marks the 100th lecture in the Ogden Lecture Series since it started 55 years ago, Quinn wrote. She added that these milestones are “a tribute to the Ogden Family, who sought to make a difference in our community by providing an enduring and meaningful way to remember the life of Stephen A. Ogden Jr. (’60),” a student who died due to injuries from a car accident during his junior year. Prior Ogden lecturers include New York Times Publisher A.G. Sulzberger, former President of Mexico Ernesto Zedillo and former Governor of Florida Jeb Bush.
President of SPEAK Coalition Greer Brigham ’20 noted that May joins other conservative speakers that have visited the University, including Bush and former Governor of Ohio John Kasich. The SPEAK Coalition’s most recent report on the ideological diversity of University speakers found that, of the speakers invited to campus that demonstrate an explicit political leaning, 94.4 percent leaned left. “I see the invitation of … May as a welcome sign of the administration’s interest in inviting more ideologically diverse speakers to campus,” Brigham wrote in an email to The Herald. “To be clear, these speakers only represent the more establishment/moderate side of conservatism, and more needs to be done to bring all types of ideologically diverse perspectives to campus. Nonetheless, I am impressed with the changes we are seeing.”
“Over the years, the lecture series has enabled the University to bring an array of current and former global leaders to campus to offer a variety of viewpoints from this distinct leadership perspective,” Quinn wrote. “Bringing … May to campus continues this tradition. As a recent former head of state engaged in matters of global importance, and given her depth of experience in international affairs during a period of significant change, she can offer distinct insights.”