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SNL star Seth Meyers brings large crowd to IMU

BY MADELINE SAVOIE | AUGUST 23, 2012 6:30 AM

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The IMU Main Lounge was packed full of people Wednesday evening. Every chair filled, all floor space taken, people lining the walls and spilling out the door, all awaiting Seth Meyers to take the stage.

Each year, the University Lecture Committee hosts a number of lecturers for the UI and Iowa City communities. Kicking off this year’s series was “Saturday Night Live” Weekend Update anchor and head writer Seth Meyers.

UI junior Katherine Valde, a member of the University Lecture Committee, introduced Meyers to roaring applause from the audience. Meyers presented UI President Sally Mason with flowers and began his lecture session.

“I do a lot of shows, and very rarely am I asked to give complete strangers flowers,” he said, as the audience erupted into the first of many laughs of the evening.

Meyers joked about a variety of topics ranging from college to the presidential election.

Valde said the committee has had Meyers on the adar since last year.

“We’re really excited to have [Seth Meyers],” she said earlier Wednesday.

“He was our top pick for this year, and it just so happened that his schedule allowed him to come to Iowa City before going back to write for ‘Saturday Night Live,’ ” Valde said.

Valde says the committee’s goal is to bring in interesting and engaging speakers for events that are free for the public.

The committee tries to provide a range of lecturers throughout the year who cover such topics as politics, economics, and health care but also those who bring a bit of comedy and improv, such as Meyers.

The committee aims to draw in not only UI students but also members of the community by providing an array of lecturers who appeal to all audiences. The University Lecture Committee has brought speakers to the campus for more than 30 years.

Proof of the committee’s memorable lecturers over the years are married couple, and 1963 UI alumnus, Larry and Wilma Rettig, who attended Meyer’s lecture, and watch “Saturday Night Live” every week.

“We came to these lectures in college,” Larry Rettig said. “The most memorable lecture we saw was probably Tom Hayden, in this very room.”

Hayden, a former husband of actress Jane Fonda, is best known for his antiwar activism. Rettig says somebody set off tear gas before the lecture began. Hayden kindly gave directions on how to exit the room, and the lecture reconvened in another area upstairs, Rettig said.

The University Lecture committee meets on a weekly basis and is composed of seven students, three faculty members, and one UI staff member.

The committee books speakers based on various input from professors, students, and anybody who requests a lecture online at their website.

Three other lecture series are booked for the fall semester. The schedule includes author and political activist Barbara Ehrenreich, president and founder of Natural Capitalism Solutions L.Hunter Lovins, and Pulitzer-Prize-winning author Junot Diaz.


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