USAO excited for wide range of intellectual, artistic events lined up this year

Dancers from PUSH Physical Theatre lead USAO students in a masterclass on movement and expressiveness
Lectures, conferences and performing arts events are all open to the public

As part of its interdisciplinary mission, the University of Science & Arts of Oklahoma hosts a diverse array of special events each year. For the 2023-24 academic year, these events range from acclaimed performers who will appear in this season of the Davis-Waldorf Performing Arts Series to world-renowned scholars who will be featured in the Ableson Religious Reconciliation Lecture, the Building Bridges conference and the Emerson-Wier Liberal Arts Symposium.


Davis-Waldorf Performing Arts Series

The 23rd season will kick off Oct. 26 with PUSH Physical Theatre’s powerful interpretation of “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.” It continues Nov. 30 with the American Ballet Theatre’s dazzling presentation of short ballets, “Momentum.” The series will resume in 2024 on Feb. 15 with the world famous Glenn Miller Orchestra’s arrangements of swing jazz favorites, before concluding March 28 with the comedic bluegrass stylings of The Cleverlys. Season tickets will go on sale Aug. 1 at


Building Bridges 2.0

From Oct. 23-25, the Dr. Ada Lois Sipuel Fisher Center for Social Justice and Racial Healing will host Building Bridges 2.0: Liberty, Justice & Equality, a conference exploring these topics in an open-ended format that encourages attendees to share their experiences and learn from those of others. Sociologist Arlie Russell Hochschild, author of “Strangers in Their Own Land,” will be a keynote speaker at the conference. Reginald Betts, poet, prison reform advocate and founder of Freedom Reads, will also deliver a keynote address during the event. The conference is free, but space at the conference is very limited and registration is required.


Ableson Religious Reconciliation Lecture

On Oct. 24, Betts will also serve as the keynote speaker at the 2023 Ableson Religious Reconciliation Lecture. He will discuss the trajectory of his life from being convicted of an armed carjacking at 16 to earning a Master of Fine Arts degree in creative writing, a juris doctorate from Yale Law School and receiving a MacArthur Fellowship in 2021. Named for the highly influential U.S. Navy chaplain and USAO alumnus Bradford Ableson, this lecture series features religious and cultural leaders who have contributed to furthering communication between disparate groups. The event is free and open to the public.


Emerson-Wier Liberal Arts Symposium

On Feb. 23, 2024, USAO will host world-renowned animal scientist and advocate for people with autism spectrum disorder Temple Grandin alongside Time Herbel, founder of the non-profit, Not Your Average Joe, an Oklahoma-based nonprofit coffee shop whose mission is to reduce the unemployment of differently abled individuals after high school in addition to preparing those with intellectual and developmental disabilities in high school for the workforce.

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