Presidential Speaker Series 2024

Here's what you have to look forward to in our speaker series, which features Elaine Chao and Bob Woodward.

Presidential Speaker Series logo

Forward Thinkers: This inaugural year of the Flagler College Presidential Speaker Series brings distinguished thought leaders to campus to share global perspectives, inspirational stories, and career insights. You'll gain unparalleled insight into the minds of forward thinkers.  

The speakers are Elaine Chao, 24th U.S. Secretary of Labor and 18th U.S. Secretary of Transportation, and Bob Woodward, legendary investigative journalist for the Washington Post.

Here's what you have to look forward to.

Bob Woodward, Legendary Journalist

Bob Woodward

A Conversation With Bob Woodward

Tuesday, April 16, 2024, at 7 p.m. in Lewis Auditorium

Bob Woodward gained international attention when he and Carl Bernstein uncovered the Watergate scandal in 1973. Since then, he's worked to shine a light on the inner workings of secret government.

Woodward has written about the last ten U.S. presidents and chronicled how the power of the presidency has evolved. He is the author of 21 bestselling books – 15 went to No. 1 – more than any contemporary nonfiction writer.

His 21st book, "Peril" (co-authored with acclaimed Washington Post reporter Robert Costa), looks at a perilous time in American history – the transition between the Presidencies of Donald Trump and Joe Biden. In his speeches, Woodward looks at the expanding powers of the presidency and the important lessons that can be learned from the presidents he's covered.

Currently an associate editor for The Washington Post, where he's worked since 1971, Bob Woodward has won nearly every American journalism award, including two Pulitzers.

Former CIA director and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates wished he'd recruited Woodward into the CIA, saying, "He has an extraordinary ability to get otherwise responsible adults to spill [their] guts to him ... his ability to get people to talk about stuff they shouldn't be talking about is just extraordinary and may be unique." 

Get Tickets

Previous Speakers

Elaine Chao2

Innovation and The Transportation System of the Future

Monday, Oct. 30, 2023, at 7 p.m. in Lewis Auditorium

Elaine Chao is an inspiring and consequential leader appointed to two Presidential cabinet positions: U.S. Secretary of Transportation and U.S. Secretary of Labor. 

When she was nominated and then unanimously confirmed, she became the first woman of Asian American and Pacific Islander heritage to serve in the President's cabinet in history. She is the 24th U.S. Secretary of Labor and 18th U.S. Secretary of Transportation.

She arrived in the United States in third grade, not knowing how to speak English. She received her citizenship at the age of 19. Her experience transitioning to a new country motivated her to ensure that everyone has access to the opportunities in our country.

Before becoming U.S. Secretary of Labor, Secretary Chao was President and CEO of United Way of America and Director of the Peace Corps. She earned her M.B.A. from Harvard Business School and holds 38 honorary degrees. She is a resident of Kentucky.