The original idea underlying the Levitt Lectures was to provide an annual opportunity for the College of Law to bring to campus truly distinguished speakers from across the United States and around the globe to present major lectures of interest, not only to the legal community, but also to leaders in all walks of life in the state and region.
The Richard S. Levitt Lecture Series is supported by an endowment held by the Iowa Law School Foundation known as the Levitt Family Lectureship Fund. The inaugural Levitt Lecture was held in January 1997.
Past Levitt Lecturers:
- Spring 1997: Richard Thornburg, Former Attorney General
- Spring 1998: Abba Eban, Former Israeli statesman
- Fall 1998: Elie Wiesel, Nobel Peace Prize Winner
- Spring 1999: Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Nobel Peace Prize-Winner
- Fall 1999: John Paul Stevens, US Supreme Court Justice and John Ferren, Washington DC Court of Appeals Judge
- Spring 2000: John Hume, Nobel Peace Prize Winner
- Fall 2001: Janet Reno, Former US Attorney General
- Spring 2002: David Halberstam, Pulitzer Prize-Winning Journalist and Author
- Fall 2002: Thomas Friedman, Pulitzer Prize-Winning Columnist
- Fall 2003: Wesley Clark, Former NATO Commander and Retired Four Star General
- Spring 2004: Mary Robinson, Former President of Ireland
- Spring 2005: Irshad Manji, Author of What's the Matter with Islam Today?
- Fall 2006: Linda Greenhouse, Pulitzer Prize-Winning Journalist
- Spring 2008: Dr. Shirin Ebadi, Nobel Peace Prize Winner
- Spring 2009: Paul Krugman, Nobel Prize Winner in Economics and New York Times Columnist
- Spring 2010: Scott Turow, Best-Selling Author
- Spring 2011: Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey Palmer SC, Former Prime Minister of New Zealand
- Fall 2011: Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser, Founder and President of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD) (co-sponsored with the UI Center for Human Rights and the University Lecture Committee)
- Fall 2012: Professor Richard Susskind, OBE, Author, Speaker, and Independent Adviser to major professional firms and to national governments on the future of legal and professional services