The University of Texas at Tyler partnered with the Smith County Medical Society-Auxiliary to establish the Distinguished Lecture Series (DLS) in 1982. The DLS served as both a venue for bringing nationally recognized speakers to a Tyler audience and a source of revenue for UT Tyler endowed scholarships. Major supporters of the Distinguished Lecture Series have included Rosemary and Harold Beaird; Lawrence Anderson , M.D., and Sasha Vukelja, M.D.; Louise and Joseph Z. Ornelas; Sherilyn and Patrick Willis; Margaret and James I. Perkins; and the A.W. Riter Jr. Family Foundation. DLS has been further supported over the years by the UT Tyler Friends of the Arts and private donors. Prior to the completion of the R. Don Cowan Fine and Performing Arts Center in 1997, Distinguished Lecture Series events were held in the University Center. Events typically include a public lecture and private fundraising reception. Featured guests have included:
1982-1983: F. Lee Bailey, William F. Buckley, Jr., and Arthur B. Laffer.
1983-1984: Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., Camelia Sadat (replacing Bettina Gregory), and Stansfield Turner.
1984-1985: Malcolm Toon, Jody Powell, and Admiral James Stockdale (replacing General William C. Westmoreland).
1985-1986: Lewis A. Tambs, Geroge F. Will, and Carlos Fuentes.
1986-1987: David Eisenhower, Edward Teller, Beverly Sills, and Eugene McCarthy.
1987-1988: Dr. Henry Kissinger, Robert S. Strauss, and John Palmer.
1988-1989: Jeane Kirkpatrick, Pierre Salinger, and Richard Valeriani (replacing Tom Wolfe).
1989-1990: Abba Eban, Alexander Haig, and Tom Wolfe.
1990-1991: Thomas P. “Tip” O’Neill, Jr., Jane Bryant Quinn, and Mark Russell.
1991-1992: Zbigniew Brzezinski, Judy Woodruff, and Ed Koch.
1992-1993: Andrew Rooney, Coretta Scott King, and Dick Cheney (replacing Willy Brandt).
1993-1994: Larry King, Irving R. Levine, Oscar Arias, and J. David Swaim, Jr.
1994-1995: Elie Wiesel, General Brent Scowcroft, and Hugh Downs.
1995-1996: Jack Kemp, Cokie Roberts, and Sam Donaldson (replacing Bill Moyers).
1996-1997: William Kristol , Gerry Spence, and John McClaughlin.
1997-1998: Senator Alan Simpson, Catherine Crier, and F.W. DeKlerk.
1998-1999: David Gergen, Shimon Peres, and George Stephanopoulos (replacing Dr. Gail Wilensky).
1999-2000: Dr. Gail Wilensky, Buzz Aldrin and Greg Gumbel.
2000-2001: Alan Dershowitz, Ambassador Alan Keyes, and Hamilton Jordan.
2001-2002: Bill O’Reilly and James Carville.
2002-2003: Robert Novak/Bill Press and Steve Forbes.
2003-2004: Ann Compton (replacing General Wesley Clark) and Colonel Oliver North.
2004-2005: J.C. Watts and John Stossel.
2005-2006: Ann Coulter and Martin Luther King III.
2006-2007: President George H.W. Bush.
2007-2008: Ambassador John Bolton and Dr. Sallie Baliunas.
2008-2009: President Vicente Fox.
2009-2010: Dr. Walter Williams and Greg Mortenson.
2010-2011: President Oscar Arias, President George W. Bush, and Jon Landau.
2011-2012: Senator Fred Thompson and P.J. O’Rourke.
2012-2013: Ambassador Karen Hughes and Dr. John Carlos. Note written by Samantha Winn.