JF Maddox Foundation Presents

Jack Maddox Distinguished Speaker Series

About the Series

Since its inception in 1989, this series of events have been hosted by the JF Maddox Foundation and the University of the Southwest. The purpose of the series is to contribute to the quality of life in Lea County, New Mexico, and the surrounding area by providing nationally recognized speakers for intellectual stimulation and entertainment.


Distinguished Speaker Series

Featuring U.S. NASA Astronaut José Hernandez at 7:00 PM on Thursday, March 7th at R. N. Tydings Auditorium.

Hernandez, a first-generation American from a migrant farming family from Mexico, was raised traveling between Mexico and southern California. His family worked in agriculture along their travel route from Mexico north toward Stockton, CA. Hernandez graduated from high school in Stockton and earned his electrical engineering degree from the University of the Pacific. Upon graduation, he was awarded a full scholarship to the graduate program at the University of California in Santa Barbara.

Hernandez also served as a Flight Engineer aboard Space Shuttle Discovery in 2009 to the International Space Station as part of a 14-day science mission. His experiences inspired the biographical movie “A Million Miles Away.” The movie, available for viewing on Amazon Prime Video, highlights Hernandez’s journey from Mexico to the International Space Station.

Past Speakers

Since 1989, the Jack Maddox Distinguished Speaker Series has endeavored to bring a variety of speakers to Hobbs, New Mexico for the express purpose of enhancing the quality of life in southeastern New Mexico.

Summer 2023

Amy Van Dyken

Six-time Olympic Gold Medalist

Fall 2022

Ben and Erin Napier

Hosts of Home Town on HGTV

Spring 2022

Mike Rowe

Executive Producer & Show Host

Spring 2021

Karl Rove

Former Deputy Chief of Staff & Best-Selling Author

Spring 2021

Jennifer Granholm

Former Governor of Michigan

Fall 2020

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Best-Selling Author & Hall of Fame NBA Player

Spring 2019

Amy Cuddy

Best-Selling Author & Social Psychologist

Fall 2018

Mike Rowe

Executive Producer & Show Host

Spring 2018

Dara Torres

Olympic Medalist

Spring 2017

Malcolm Gladwell

Award-Winning Author

Spring 2016

Brad Meltzer

Award-Winning Author

Fall 2015

Condoleezza Rice

Former Secretary of State

Spring 2015

Ben Carson

Award-Winning Author & Neurosurgeon

Fall 2014

Sam Abell

National Geographic Photographer

Spring 2014

Richard Florida

Best-Selling Author

Fall 2013

Jeanette Walls

Best-Selling Author

Spring 2013

General Colin Powell

Former Secretary of State

Fall 2012

Michael Beschloss

Presidential Historian

Spring 2012

Peyton Manning

NFL Quarterback

Fall 2011

Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger

Hero Pilot

Spring 2011

Laura Bush

Former First Lady

Fall 2010

Jean Chatzky

Journalist, Best-Selling Author

Spring 2010

Robert Ballard

Deep Sea Explorer

Fall 2009

Jo Frost

Star of “Supernanny” & Author

Spring 2009

Jim Lehrer


Fall 2008

Waddie Mitchell

Cowboy Poet

Spring 2008

Tony Dungy

NFL Hall of Fame

Fall 2007

Tucker Carlson & Paul Begala

Political Commentators & Analysts

Spring 2006

Ben Stein

Actor, Economist, Writer, & Journalist

Fall 2005

Oliver North

Marine, Best-Selling Author, U.S. Counter-Terrorism Coordinator

Fall 2004

Robert Gates

Former Secretary of Defense

Spring 2004

Peter Hillary & Jaling Norgay

World-Renowned Adventurists

Fall 2003

P.J. O’Rourke

Best-Selling Author & Political Satirist

Spring 2003

Lynn Swann

NFL Hall of Fame

Fall 2002

Marvin Hamlisch


Fall 2002

David Halberstam

Journalist, Author, & Historian

Spring 2001

Mark Hansen

Co-Creator of “Chicken Soup for the Soul”

Fall 2001

David McCullough

Pulitzer Prize Winner & Author

Fall 2000

Alan Page

Minnesota Supreme Court Justice & NFL Hall of Fame

Spring 2000

John Naisbitt

Best-Selling Author

Fall 1999

Catherine Crier

Television Personality & District Court Judge

Spring 1999

Dave Barry

Humor Columnist

Fall 1998

Linda Wertheimer


Fall 1997

Robert Fulghum


Spring 1997

John Rosemond

Psychologist & Parenting Expert

Fall 1996

Mark Russell

Political Satirist

Spring 1996

Walter Williams

Columnist & Author

Fall 1995

James Lovell

NASA Astronaut, Commander of Apollo 13

Spring 1995

John Silber

Academic & Politician

Fall 1994

Thomas Sowell

Economist & Author

Spring 1994

Jim Tunney

NFL Referee

Fall 1993

Sally Ride

NASA Astronaut, First Woman in Orbit

Spring 1993

Arthur Schlesinger

Pulitzer Prize Winning Historian

Spring 1992

Edwin Newman

Newscaster, Journalist, & Author

Fall 1991

William Buckley

American Author & Commentator

Fall 1991

Joe Clark

Principal & Subject of the Film “Lean on Me”

Spring 1990

Thomas Sowell

Economist & Author

Spring 1989

Art Linkletter

Radio & Television Personality

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About University of the Southwest

Founded in 1962, University of the Southwest (USW) is a private, four-year Christian university located in Hobbs, New Mexico. Regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), the university offers undergraduate and graduate degrees both on-campus and online, and was recently ranked by U.S. News and World Report for ‘Top Online Education Programs’ and ‘Top Online Business Programs’.

Built on a foundation of Christian values and a servant leadership philosophy, University of the Southwest is a community of dedicated staff and faculty committed to developing each student, helping them achieve their full potential in the classroom, on the playing field and in the communities they serve.

The HobbsEvents.org community calendar provides a convenient, one-stop-shop for entertainment events in Hobbs and Lea County.