Bainbridge State College will host a series of compelling speakers – including former President Jimmy Carter – distinguished authors and performing artists beginning with Tuesday’s event, a zombie expert who wrote “World War Z.”

Bainbridge State President Richard Carvajal said this inaugural Arts and Lecture Series is intended to enhance the educational experience of the College’s students and to extend to the community a variety of cultural experiences.

“These events are designed to bring the campus and the wider public together to educate, inspire and spark imagination,” Dr. Carvajal said.

All of the events will be at the Charles H. Kirbo Regional Center on Bainbridge State’s main campus, and all events are free.

Along with Brooks on Tuesday, Oct. 29, and President Carter on Feb. 18, details of the performances and speakers are detailed below.

Tuesday, Oct. 29, 7 p.m. – Pre-eminent zombie expert and best-selling author Max Brooks will visit Bainbridge State College on Tuesday, Oct. 29, to discuss his work and the origins of the zombie craze in film and literature.

Brooks is the author of the best-selling 2007 novel “World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War,” which details a zombie apocalypse and was the source of inspiration for a Hollywood blockbuster starring Brad Pitt.

Brooks, who also penned “The Zombie Survival Guide” and won an Emmy for his writing on “Saturday Night Live,” will take the stage at the Charles H. Kirbo Regional Center at 7 p.m. Doors will open at 6 p.m. The event is free and open to the public, with a book signing to follow.

Brooks, son of legendary comedian and director Mel Brooks and actress Anne Bancroft, made a publishing splash in 2003 with “The Zombie Survival Guide,” one of the bellwether texts signaling the onset of the culture’s zombie craze a decade ago.

Sunday, Nov. 3, 3 p.m. – The Valdosta Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Howard Hsu, is an important part of the cultural life of Southwest Georgia. It has helped Bainbridge State and the community mark special occasions for many years, so it is fitting that the Orchestra be a part of the College’s inaugural Arts and Lecture Series.

Spend an afternoon experiencing some of Mozart’s most beloved works, including the jovial bassoon concerto performed by VSO principal bassoonist Shannon Lowe, and his radiant “Prague” Symphony, a piece as glorious as the city after which it was named. Also on the lineup is Mozart’s “Overture to Lucio Silla.”

Monday, Nov. 14 – American poet Steve Gehrke will be the first of three Georgia Poetry Circuit speakers scheduled to visit Bainbridge State. Gehrke will appear on Monday, Nov. 14.

Gehrke has published three books, most recently “Michelangelo’s Seizure,” which was selected for the National Poetry Series.  His previous books include “The Pyramids of Malpighi,” which won the Philip Levine Prize, and “The Resurrection Machine,” which won the John Ciardi Prize for Poetry.

An assistant professor at the University of Nevada-Reno, Gehrke graduated from Minnesota State University and University of Texas-Austin, where he earned a Masters of Fine Art. He graduated from the University of Missouri with a Ph.D.

Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014, 7 p.m. – Chicago’s legendary comedy theater The Second City will mark its 54th year with the touring company’s “Happily Ever Laughter” series at Bainbridge State on Thursday, Jan. 30, beginning at 7 p.m.

The Second City is the leading brand in improvisation-based sketch comedy.

Drawing on classic material from The Second City archives as well as scenes ripped from the morning headlines, The Second City’s “Happily Ever Laughter” is a chance to see comedy stars in the making in an evening of smart, cutting-edge comedy.  With scripted and improvisational elements, audiences always enjoy being part of the show and playing along with the next generation of comic legends. Many of comedy’s brightest stars have hit the road with The Second City Touring Company including Tina Fey, Stephen Colbert, Amy Poehler, Steve Carell, Bill Murray and most recently, current “Saturday Night Live” stars Cecily Strong, Tim Robinson and Jason Sudeikis.

Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2014 – American poet Andrew Hudgins will be the second of three Georgia Poetry Circuit speakers scheduled to visit Bainbridge State. Hudgins will appear on Tuesday, Feb. 4.

Raised in Alabama, Hudgins earned a bachelor’s at Huntingdon College, a master’s at the University of Alabama, and a Masters of Fine Art at the University of Iowa. He is the author of numerous collections of poetry and essays, many of which have received high critical praise, such as “The Never-Ending: New Poems,” which was a finalist for the National Book Awards; “After the Lost War: A Narrative,” which received the Poets’ Prize; and “Saints and Strangers,” which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. He is currently humanities distinguished professor of English at Ohio State University.

Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014, 6:30 p.m. – Former President Jimmy Carter will be at the Charles H. Kirbo Regional Center, which is named after the former president’s dear friend and trusted adviser, on Tuesday, Feb. 18.

A recipient of the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize, the Norwegian Nobel Committee cited President Carter’s decades of untiring effort to find peaceful solutions to international conflicts, to advance democracy and human rights, and to promote economic and social development. He is the only U.S. President to have received the Prize after leaving office.

During his presidency from 1977 to 1981, President Carter’s mediation was a vital contribution to the Camp David Accords, the treaty of peace between Israel and Egypt. Other foreign policy accomplishments included the Panama Canal treaties, the SALT II treaty with the old Soviet Union and the establishment of U.S. diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China. During his presidency and even after, President Carter and his wife, Rosalyn, have worked toward resolving conflicts, promoting democracy and protecting human rights.

A native of Plains, Ga., President Carter attended Georgia Southwestern College and the Georgia Institute of Technology, and he received his bachelor’s from the U.S. Naval Academy. He also served as Georgia’s 76th governor.

Monday, March 31, 2014 – American poet and non-fiction writer, Sandra Beasley, will be the third and final Georgia Poetry Circuit speaker in the series. Beasley will appear on Monday, March 31.

Beasley is the author of “I Was the Jukebox,” winner of the Barnard Women Poets Prize; “Theories of Falling,” winner of the New Issues Poetry Prize; and the memoir “Don’t Kill the Birthday Girl: Tales from an Allergic Life.” Honors for her work include selection for the 2010 Best American Poetry, the University of Mississippi Summer Poet in Residence position, a D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities Individual Artist Fellowship, the Friends of Literature Prize from the Poetry Foundation, and the Maureen Egen Exchange Award from Poets & Writers. She lives in Washington, D.C., where her prose has appeared in The Washington Post Magazine.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014, 7 p.m. – Pulitzer Prize-winner and poet laureate of the United States, Natasha Trethewey will be the final guest in the College’s Arts and Lecture Series, Trethewey is scheduled to appear on Tuesday, April 1.

In 2012, the Library of Congress named Trethewey as both the State Poet Laureate of Mississippi and the 19th U.S. Poet Laureate. In 2013, she was appointed for a second term and, like those poets laureate who served a second term before her, she will undertake a signature project. Trethewey plans to travel to cities and towns across the country meeting with the general public to seek out the many ways poetry lives in American communities and report on her discoveries in a regular feature on the PBS NewsHour Poetry Series.

Trethewey is a professor of creative writing at Emory University in Atlanta and she is the first Southerner to be the poet laureate of the United States since Robert Penn Warren, the original laureate, and the first African-American since Rita Dove in 1993.

Her first collection of poetry, “Domestic Work,” was selected by Dove as the winner of the inaugural Cave Canem Poetry Prize for the best first book by an African-American poet and won both the 2001 Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Book Prize and the 2001 Lillian Smith Award for Poetry.

Since then, she has published three more collections of poetry, including “Thrall,” “Native Guard,” which received the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, and “Bellocq’s Ophelia.”

The first performance of the series was “A Raisin in the Sun” presented by Canopy Roads Theater Company on Sept. 5.

More information is available on Bainbridge State’s website,, or by contacting the College’s Office of Institutional Advancement at (229) 243-6428 or


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