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Jane Goodall, Legendary Chimpanzee Expert and Conservationist to Speak at University of Arkansas

Woman with gray ponytail is hugging a chimp and both appear to be hooting.

Jane Goodall. Copyright Michael Neugebauer. Note: Dr. Goodall does not handle wild chimpanzees. This orphan chimpanzee lives at a sanctuary.

September 25, 2012

Dr. Jane Goodall, DBE, who is internationally known for her groundbreaking studies of chimpanzee behavior and revered as founder of the Jane Goodall Institute and United Nations Messenger of Peace, will speak at 7 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 5, at Barnhill Arena on the University of Arkansas campus. Her lecture, “Making a Difference: An Evening with Jane Goodall,” is free and open to the public. No tickets are required. The south side doors to Barnhill Arena will open at 6 p.m. No group reserved seats are available. Books by or about Dr. Goodall will be available for purchase at the event and a book signing will follow the lecture.

Dr. Goodall’s lecture will be the headline event of the University of Arkansas Honors College 10th Birthday Celebration and is a part of the U of A Distinguished Lecture Series. The event is cosponsored by the University of Arkansas Honors College and the student Distinguished Lecture Committee.

“It’s a tremendous honor to be able to bring Dr. Goodall to campus,” said Autumn Lewis, co-chair of the Distinguished Lecture Committee and an honors political science and economics major in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences. “Students have long told us that they would like to hear her speak, and we’re delighted that working as partners with the Honors College has made this possible.”

Jane Goodall sailed to Africa In 1958, to pursue a lifelong dream of living with and writing about wild animals. After working with legendary anthropologist Dr. Louis Leakey, she was offered the rare opportunity to study wild chimpanzee behavior on the eastern shore of Lake Tanganyika at the Gombe Stream Reserve. Armed with a diploma from the Queen’s Secretarial School in London and accompanied by her mother, Goodall persevered in an environment where others had lasted only months.

Her patient, unrelenting study and observation yielded surprising results. She proved that chimpanzees fashion and use tools — a task previously thought to be a purely human characteristic — and they hunt and eat meat. Care of the young is long and close. She showed that chimpanzees are sociable and expressive — sometimes when friends meet they fling their arms around each other in a delighted embrace. When National Geographic documented her early discoveries in articles and television specials, Jane Goodall became known worldwide.

Dr. Goodall founded the Gombe Stream Research Centre in 1965, and the following year earned a doctorate in ethology, the scientific study of animal behavior, from Cambridge University. In 1977, she established the Jane Goodall Institute, which today is a global organization with more than 27 offices that support research at Gombe, as well as community-centered conservation programs in Africa, and youth leadership and education around the world through the Institute's youth program, “Jane Goodall's Roots & Shoots.” Goodall’s book, The Chimpanzees of Gombe: Patterns of Behavior, was the culmination of the first 20 years of the Gombe research and is recognized as a milestone in the understanding of wild chimpanzee behavior.

Dr. Goodall has won numerous awards for her environmental and humanitarian work. She was named a United Nations Messenger of Peace in 2002, and in a ceremony at Buckingham Palace in 2004, Prince Charles invested Goodall as a Dame of the British Empire, the female equivalent of knighthood. She has also received the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement, the French Legion of Honor, the Medal of Tanzania and Japan’s prestigious Kyoto Prize, among many other honors.

Dr. Goodall’s lecture will headline a series of events marking the 10th birthday of the Honors College. The Honors College was created in 2002 through part of a $300 million gift from the Walton Family Charitable Support Foundation. This gift is the largest gift on record to American public higher education. Today, more than 2,500 students and 500 professors from every college and major on campus participate in innovative courses and research in classrooms, laboratories, studios, and sites around the world.

The Distinguished Lecture Series is a student-sponsored program. Speakers are chosen by a committee of students, faculty and staff, and the events are funded by a student-approved fee, appropriated by the Programs Allocation Board.

Recent distinguished lecturers have included the Dalai Lama, Elie Weisel and President George H.W. Bush.

About the Jane Goodall Institute

Founded in 1977, the Jane Goodall Institute continues Dr. Goodall’s pioneering research on chimpanzee behavior started more than 50 years ago—research that transformed scientific perceptions of the relationship between humans and animals. Today, the Institute is a global leader in the effort to protect chimpanzees and their habitats. It also is widely recognized for establishing innovative community-centered conservation and development programs in Africa, and Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots, the global environmental and humanitarian program for youth of all ages, which has groups in more than 120 countries. For more information, please visit


Kendall Curlee, director of communications
Honors College

Steve Voorhies, manager of media relations
University Relations