Designer and activist Kenneth Cole gives Tate Lecture April 6

Kenneth ColeKenneth Cole, who has used his stature as a fashion industry leader to make an impact on causes such as community service and helping the homeless, will speak at SMU April 6 as part of the 2009-10 Willis M. Tate Distinguished Lecture Series. The evening event begins at 8 p.m. in McFarlin Auditorium.

After helping his father’s shoe manufacturing company launch the world-renowned Candies brand in the early 1970s, Cole founded Kenneth Cole Productions with the debut of a women’s footwear collection in 1982. Today the company is one of the nation’s most successful and respected fashion houses, designing and marketing a full range of products through more than 5,000 distribution points globally.

Cole has used his company to promote social consciousness through unconventional advertising that touches on issues from gun control and cloning to abortion and AIDS. His personal philosophy is expressed in the book he co-authored in 2003, Footnotes: What You Stand For Is More Important Than What You Stand In. His most recent book, Awearness: Inspiring Stories About How to Make a Difference, was published in 2008.

In 2008 the company launched AWEARNESS: Kenneth Cole, a not-for-profit entity that encourages community service. Cole is chair of The Foundation for AIDS Research and a founding board member of HELP USA, an organization that helps the homeless become self-reliant. He also is a board member of the Council of Fashion Designers of America and The Sundance Institute.

Cole will answer questions from SMU community members and local high school students in the Turner Construction/Wells Fargo Student Forum at 4:30 p.m. April 6 in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Ballroom.

> Visit the Tate Distinguished Lecture Series homepage

2009-10 Tate Lecture season kicks off Sept. 8

Thomas Friedman, Fareed Zakaria and David GergenThomas Friedman and Fareed Zakaria will offer their insights on current events and international politics Sept. 8 in the first event of the Willis M. Tate Distinguished Lecture Series’ 2009-10 season.

Friedman is a three-time Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist with The New York Times and the bestselling author of Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution – And How It Can Renew America. Zakaria is editor of Newsweek International and host of CNN’s “Fareed Zakaria GPS.” The two will participate in a discussion moderated by news analyst, former White House adviser and longtime Tate Series favorite David Gergen.

The lecture is sold out. All SMU community members are invited to attend the Tate Lecture Series Student Forum with the speakers at 4:30 p.m. on lecture day in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center. Doors open at 4 p.m. Seats may be reserved online, and reserved seats are guaranteed until 4:15 p.m.

Scientists, satirists, fashion leaders, and one of the first men to walk on the moon are among the leaders coming to campus as part of the 2009-10 Tate Series. The line-up, announced at political analyst Cokie Roberts‘ lecture May 5, includes Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, director and Oscar-winning actress Diane Keaton, fashion industry icon Kenneth Cole, political satirist Christopher Buckley, neuroanatomist Jill Bolte Taylor and former Apollo astronaut Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin.

Learn more about this season’s Tate lecturers and the Tate Student Forum series for the community at