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Speaker Series

The Presidential Speaker Series brings world-renowned individuals to Tulane, generating discussion and providing an opportunity for our community to learn from distinguished professionals with unique perspectives, talents and stories.

In 2019, Tulane University President Michael A. Fitts launched the Presidential Speaker Series as a compelling episodic series that examines policy, leadership, culture and society. Additionally, the series focuses on growth mindset and explores how participants have stimulated growth and gained confidence in the face of adversity. In keeping with Tulane’s mission to create, communicate and conserve knowledge to enrich the capacity of our community to learn, act and lead with integrity, the series serves as a marketplace for ideas, featuring renowned speakers who share their knowledge, experience, opinions and accomplishments.
We are pleased to provide community members the opportunity to hear from and interact with the nation’s foremost thought leaders.


A Virtual Conversation with Lisa Perez Jackson (E’83) and
Colonel Douglas G. Hurley (E’88)


Lisa Jackson

Lisa Jackson is Apple’s vice president of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives, reporting to CEO Tim Cook.

Lisa oversees Apple's efforts to minimize its impact on the environment by addressing climate change through renewable energy and energy efficiency, using greener materials, and inventing new ways to conserve precious resources. She is also responsible for Apple’s education policy programs such as ConnectED, its product accessibility work, and its worldwide government affairs function.

From 2009 to 2013, Lisa served as Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Appointed by President Barack Obama, she focused on reducing greenhouse gases, protecting air and water quality, preventing exposure to toxic contamination, and expanding outreach to communities on environmental issues. She has also served as Chief of Staff to New Jersey Governor Jon S. Corzine and as Commissioner of New Jersey’s Department of Environmental Protection.

Lisa holds a master's degree in Chemical Engineering from Princeton University and a bachelor's degree in Chemical Engineering from Tulane University. She serves on the boards of Princeton, Tulane, and the Clinton Foundation.


Lisa Jackson

Colonel Douglas G. Hurley was selected as an astronaut in 2000. A veteran of three spaceflights, he was the pilot on STS‐127 and STS‐135 and Spacecraft Commander on the first crewed test flight of the SpaceX Crew Dragon, the Demo-2 Mission, during which he also served as a Flight Engineer on the International Space Station for Expedition 63. Hurley holds a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Tulane University. Before joining NASA, he was a fighter pilot and test pilot in the U.S. Marine Corps. He has spent a total of 93 days in space.   

Hurley received his commission as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps from the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps at Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1988. After graduation, he attended The Basic School (TBS) in Quantico, Virginia, and later, the Infantry Officers Course. Following Aviation Indoctrination in Pensacola, Florida, he entered flight training in Texas in 1989 and was designated a Naval Aviator in August 1991. He then reported to Marine Fighter/Attack Training Squadron 101 at the Marine Corps Air Station, El Toro, California, for initial F/A‐18 training. Upon completion of training, he was assigned to Marine All-Weather Fighter/Attack Squadron 225, where he made three overseas deployments to the Western Pacific. While assigned to VMFA (AW)‐225, he attended the United States Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Instructor (WTI) Course, the Marine Division Tactics Course (MDTC) and the Aviation Safety Officers Course at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterrey, California. Over his 4 1/2 years with the “Vikings,” he served as the Aviation Safety Officer and the Pilot Training Officer. Hurley was then selected to attend the United States Naval Test Pilot School at the Naval Air Station, Patuxent River, Maryland, and began the course in January 1997. After graduation in December 1997, he was assigned to the Naval Strike Aircraft Test Squadron (VX‐23) as an F/A‐18 Project Officer and Test Pilot. At “Strike,” he participated in a variety of flight testing, including flying qualities, ordnance separation and systems testing and became the first Marine pilot to fly the F/A‐18 E/F Super Hornet. He was serving as the Operations Officer when selected for the astronaut program. Twelve years into his NASA career, Hurley retired from the United States Marine Corps after proudly serving more than 24 years.

Hurley has logged over 5,500 hours in more than 25 aircraft.