Technology entrepreneur, investor and philanthropist Peter Thiel will visit SMU Tuesday, Oct. 21 to deliver 2014’s second Willis M. Tate Distinguished Lecture Series.
Thiel will offer his insight and opinion on current events as moderated by political analysts and Tate Series veteran David Gergen. Continuing the 33rd season of Tate Lectures, Thiel and Gergen will give The Tolleson Lecture at 8 p.m. in McFarlin Auditorium.
Defining a new era of fast and secure online commerce, Thiel started PayPal in 1988 and served as CEO until 2002 when he took the company public. In 2004, Thiel made the first outside investment in Facebook, where he continues to serve as a director. The same year he launched Palantir Technologies, a software company that harnesses computers to empower human analysts in fields like national security and global finance. Additionally, Thiel is a partner in Silicon Valley venture capital firm Founders Fund and has provided initial funding for LinkedIn, Yelp, Airbnb, SpaceX and dozens of other successful technology startups.
Thiel also serves as a philanthropist through his work with the Thiel Fellowship and Thiel Foundation. While the Thiel Fellowship ignited a national debate by encouraging young people to put learning before school, the Thiel Foundation works to advance technological progress and long-term thinking about the future.
Recently, Thiel has published novel Zero to One with Blake Masters. Zero to One presents an optimistic view on the future of progress in America. Introducing a new way of thinking about innovation, Thiel encourages his readers to ask the obscure questions that lead to finding value in unexpected places.
All SMU students, faculty and staff are invited to the Turner Construction/Wells Fargo Student Forum segment at 4:30 p.m. in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Ballroom. Doors open at 4 p.m., and seats may be reserved online.
The evening lecture is sold out. However, SMU students can go to the basement of McFarlin Auditorium at 7 p.m. with their SMU IDs for possible seating on a first-come, first-serve basis.