Skateboarder Tony Hawk to Speak at YSU

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — World-renowned skateboarder Tony Hawk and Olympic medal record-setter Allyson Felix are among the featured guests in Youngstown State University’s upcoming Thomas Colloquium Lecture Series.

To kick off the series, the most recognized action sports figure in the world, Tony Hawk, will be speaking at 7 p.m. Sep. 21 at Stambaugh Auditorium. Tickets will be available Aug. 15.

Hawk will be sharing personal stories and high-impact business insights about innovating, overcoming obstacles, and staying in the game.

Hawk became a professional skateboarder at 14 and by 16 he was widely considered the best on earth. He was world champion 12 years in a row and is a 16-time X Games medalist. In 1999, he became the first skater to ever complete a 900, the holy grail of vert skating.

Shortly thereafter, he teamed up with Activision to launch Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, now a billion-dollar video game franchise. He has created a Tony Hawk brand that includes Birdhouse Skateboards, Hawk Clothing, and the Tony Hawk Signature Series sporting goods and toys.

Hawk authored a New York Times bestseller and oversees his films, television and commercial production company, 900 Films. In 2022, a biographical documentary film titled “Tony Hawk: Until the Wheels Fall Off” by award-winning director Sam Jones debuted on HBO, giving an in-depth look at Hawk’s legendary career and personal life.

He founded The Skatepark Project, which has given away over $10 million to over 650 skatepark projects throughout the United States that serve over six million visitors a year.

John Hope Bryant, founder, chairman and CEO of Operation Hope Inc., will speak at 7 p.m. Oct. 13 at Stambaugh Stadium. Tickets will be available Aug. 29. Bryant will share insight from his bestselling books Up From Nothing, The Memo, How the Poor Can Save Capitalism and Love Leadership.

Operation HOPE, Inc. the largest non-profit, best-in-class provider of financial literacy, and economic empowerment services in the United States.

He is also the Chairman and CEO of Bryant Group Ventures and Founder and Principal of The Promise Homes Company, which is the largest minority-controlled owner of single-family rental homes in the United States. Both have experienced explosive growth under Bryant’s leadership.

Five former US presidents have recognized his work, and he has served as an advisor to three sitting US presidents from both political parties. In 2016, Bryant became the only private American citizen to inspire the renaming of a building on the White House campus, when the US Treasury Annex Building was renamed the Freedman’s Bank Building.

Indra Nooyi, business executive and former chairperson and chief executive officer of PepsiCo, will speak at 7 p.m. March 23 at Stambaugh Auditorium. She’ll share insights from her book “My Life in Full Work, Family and Our Future.” Tickets wil be available starting Feb. 7.

Nooyi was responsible for growing PepsiCo’s revenues from $35 billion to $63.5 billion. She oversaw a portfolio of global brands and diversified products enjoyed by consumers more than one billion times a day in more than 180 countries and territories around the world.

As PepsiCo’s director of global strategy, Nooyi led the company’s restructuring, including the divestiture of its restaurants into the successful YUM! Brands, Inc; the acquisition of Tropicana and merger with Quaker Oats; the merger with PepsiCo’s anchor bottlers; and the acquisition of Wimm-Bill-Dann, the largest international acquisition in PepsiCo’s history.

Nooyi currently serves on the boards of Amazon, Philips, and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, and is an independent director of the International Cricket Council.

To close the series, Allyson Felix, the most decorated female track and field athlete in Olympic history, will speak at 7 p.m. Sep. 14, 2023, at Stambaugh Auditorium. Tickets will become available Aug. 8. 2023. Felix will share her stories of hard work and perseverance on the track and in her advocacy work.

Felix stepped on the world stage as a passionate 18-year-old in her first Olympic Games. She has redefined athletics as she continues to cement her iconic status on and off the track. Felix has amassed 13 global titles, 10 US Championships, 11 Olympic Medals, a World Record and delivered the fastest 400m relay split in World Championship history.

She holds the most US Track & Field Olympic medals of all time. Her accomplishments solidify her as one of the greatest female athletes ever and has garnered attention from Vogue, Glamour, Essence, Self, O Magazine, Sports Illustrated, and Elle.

Felix has proven herself a force on the track, but has still made time to graduate with an elementary education degree from the University of Southern California. She also serves as an ambassador for Right to Play and Play Works, as well as being a member of The President’s Council on Fitness, Sport, and Nutrition.

Felix fought for new maternity policies for female athletes and continues to fight against discrimination in the athletic world.

Recently, she turned her attention to helping the NFL’s Nnamdi Asomugha provide Los Angeles area teens with tools to prepare themselves for higher education through their ACTS College Summit. Felix remains at the forefront of the fight for equality for all in sports and in life.

Tickets to all lectures are free and available on a first-come, first-served basis with a limit of four per person.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.