Ex-con, author, naturalist among Omnibus speakers


Purdue University Fort Wayne is bringing four nationally known speakers in for the 24th season of the Omnibus Lecture Series.

The line-up, announced Aug. 21, includes Frank Abagnale on Sept. 13; Amy Tan on Nov. 14; Jim Lucas on Feb. 19; and Jeff Corwin on April 17.

Abagnale was the con man whose life inspired Steven Spielberg’s 2002 film, “Catch Me If You Can.” He subsequently became an expert on fraud, forgery, embezzlement, cybercrime and identity theft and has worked with the FBI for 40 years.

Tan, born in the United States to parents who immigrated from China, became a six-time New York Times bestselling novelist whose works include “The Joy Luck Club” and “The Kitchen God’s Wife.”

Her other works include a memoir, two children’s books, and numerous articles for The New Yorker, Harper’s Bazaar, National Geographic, and other magazines. She has lectured internationally at universities, delivered a TED talk, spoken at the White House, appeared on Sesame Street, and played in a literary garage band with Stephen King, Dave Barry, and Scott Turow to raise money for literacy programs.

In “Reflections: The Life and Times of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.,” Lucas performs recitations and readings depicting King’s life. He was inspired to create the one-man show after attending the 20th anniversary of the March on Washington in 1983. His resemblance to and interpretation of King has been called remarkable, awe inspiring, uncanny and soulful.

Corwin, host of the Emmy Award-winning ABC wildlife adventure series Ocean Mysteries, educates and entertains audiences with his knowledge and deep sense of caring about the natural world, empowering audiences to join the movement to save our natural world for future generations.

His work on CNN’s critically-acclaimed Planet in Peril with Anderson Cooper and as a special science and environment correspondent for NBC News solidified his place as one of the world’s leading environmental journalists. The Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo is co-sponsoring Corwin’s lecture.

The Omnibus Lecture Series is dedicated to sharing diverse ideas through educated, respected, insightful and entertaining speakers for the campus and community.

The English, Bonter, Mitchell Foundation has been the Omnibus Lecture Series sponsor since 1995. Media sponsors for the 2018–19 series are WANE-TV NewsChannel 15, and 89.1 WBOI News and Diverse Music.

All lectures are held in the Auer Performance Hall at the Rhinehart Music Center and require free tickets, which are available in the weeks preceding each program. For more information, visit //www.pfw.edu/omnibus-lecture-series/tickets/.