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NEW ORLEANS—In October, Walter M. Kimbrough, president of Dillard University, will join a cadre of voices from higher education, who will convene in Washington, DC,  for the ATHENA Roundtable Conference. The discussions on academic freedom and accountability, will feature university presidents, scholars, and trustees on changing education models and solutions to campus free speech issues.

The American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA), the leading nonprofit organization advocating for academic freedom, academic excellence, and accountability in higher education, announced the conference theme and the distinguished speakers who will appear at its annual ATHENA Roundtable. Entitled “Restoring Excellence: Ideas that Work for 21st Century College Leadership,” the conference will feature two panel discussions with presentations and commentary by nationally renowned higher education leaders and policymakers.  The talk will be held on October 20, 2017, at the Ronald Reagan Building & International Trade Center.

Moderated by Catherine Rampell, opinion columnist for The Washington Post, “A Galvanizing Year for Free Speech: A Common Agenda for Academic Freedom,” will bring together prominent scholars and free speech advocates for a discussion on the embattled state of free expression on college campuses today. Speakers include Steven Benner, distinguished fellow of the Foundation for Applied Molecular Evolution and student member of the 1975 C. Vann Woodward Committee on Freedom of Expression at Yale,  Philip Hamburger, the Maurice and Hilda Friedman professor of law at Columbia Law School,  Walter M. Kimbrough, president of Dillard University, and Allison Stanger, professor of political science at Middlebury College.

“I have been excited to be part of discussions about how we create a climate on campus where we can learn how to embrace difficult conversations from different perspectives,” Kimbrough said. “I learned a great deal from our hosting of a contentious U.S. Senate debate, and it is important to share that with my colleagues.”

The second panel is “Money, Markets, and Management: The Changing Model of Higher Ed.”  The conference is followed by the Philip Merrill Award Gala Dinner, where University of Chicago President Robert J. Zimmer will deliver keynote remarks.