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DeWitt Higgs Memorial Lecture

The DeWitt Higgs Memorial Lecture is an endowed lecture sponsored by the Law and Society Program, Earl Warren College and the Higgs family.

DeWitt Higgs was a pillar of the San Diego legal community. He was a founding member of the firm Higgs, Fletcher, and Mack. He served as a UC Regent for 16 years. To honor his contributions, the topic of each Higgs Lecture is related to field of law and society.

The list of recent speakers includes cofounder and president of the Center for Policing Equity Dr. Phillip Atiba Goff, San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom, UC Berkeley professor and journalist Mark Danner, Geoff Hoon (former leader of the British House of Commons), and NYU professor Jerome Cohen.

2018 DeWitt Higgs Memorial Lecture

Presented by the Council of Provosts of
The Undergraduate Colleges at UC San Diego

On Thursday, April 26th 2018, we were so proud to host the DeWitt Higgs Memorial Lecture featuring George Takei.

Where No Story Has Gone Before: An Evening with George Takei
Actor, Social Justice Activist & Social Media Mega-Power

George Takei

With an uncanny eloquence and signature wit, Takei shares the story of his family's forced internment as Japanese Americans during WWII—a seemingly forgotten part of American history. He also takes audiences through his rise to celebrity as a Sci-fi icon, his remarkable journey as social media mega power, and his passionate fight for LGBTQ rights and marriage equality in America—empowering others to beat the odds and make a difference.


With a career spanning five decades, George Takei is known around the world for his founding role in the acclaimed television series Star Trek, in which he played Hikaru Sulu, helmsman of the Starship Enterprise. But George Takei's story goes where few stories have gone before. From a childhood spent with his family wrongfully imprisoned in a Japanese American Internment Camp during WWII, to becoming one of the country's leading figures in the fight for social justice, LGBTQ rights, and marriage equality—George Takei remains a powerful voice on issues ranging from politics to pop culture.

The openly gay Takei has long been a passionate advocate for social justice, outspoken supporter of human right issues and a community activist. He has served as the spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign "Coming Out Project," and was Cultural Affairs Chairman of the Japanese American Citizens League. He is also chairman emeritus and a trustee of the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles. He was appointed to the Japan-US Friendship Commission by former President Clinton and the government of Japan awarded Takei the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette, for his contribution to US-Japanese relations. The decoration was conferred by His Majesty, Emperor Akihito, at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo. Takei served for 11 years on the Board of Directors of the Southern California Rapid Transit District as Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley’s appointee and he was vice president of human resources of the American Public Transit Association. Mayor Bradley’s mission to Takei was to get started building the first subway network in Los Angeles which is now not only operating but is being extended west along Wilshire Boulevard past Westwood. In 2007, Asteroid 7307 Takei—located between Mars and Jupiter—was named in the performer's honor in appreciation for his social work.

Takei's on-camera television credits include guest appearances on Lost Girl, The Neighbors, Hawaii Five- 0, The New Normal, Supah Ninjas, Malcolm in the Middle, Scrubs, Miami Vice, MacGyver, The Six Million Dollar Man, Mission: Impossible, My Three Sons, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, The Twilight Zone, The Big Bang Theory, Psych, 3rd Rock from the Sun, and Will & Grace. Adding to his resume, Takei has provided narration on many projects, including the PBS series The National Parks: America's Best Idea; the Peabody Award-winning radio documentary Crossing East, centered on the history of Asian American immigration to the United States; and Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, which garnered Takei a Grammy Award nomination for Best Spoken Word Album. Takei has also brought his voiceover talent to hundreds of characters in film, television, video games, and commercials.

George Takei is furthermore an accomplished author, having co-written the science-fiction novel Mirror Friend, Mirror Foe with Robert Asprin, and published his autobiography To the Stars. Takei also authored Lions and Tigers and Bears: The Internet Strikes Back and Oh Myyy! There Goes the Internet.

Takei made his Broadway debut in the musical Allegiance which ran in New York 2015 through 2016 and is inspired by Takei’s true-life experience. In 2017, Takei returned to the New York stage in a revival of Stephen Sondheim’s Pacific Overtures, directed by John Doyle at Classic Stage Company.

In 2012, Mashable.com named Takei the #1 most-influential person on Facebook, currently with over 10 million likes and nearly 3 million followers on Twitter. On his own YouTube channel, Takei and his husband Brad bring viewers into their personal life in the “heightened reality” webseries, It Takeis Two.


This event was held Thursday, April 26th at 5pm in the Price Center West Ballroom for UCSD and Cal Western students, faculty, staff, and alumni only.
View photos from the event here!

About the DeWitt Higgs Memorial Lecture

DeWitt "Dutch" Higgs graduated from California Western School of Law in 1934. He founded the firm of Higgs, Fletcher and Mack, one of San Diego’s leading local firms, and served as the region’s first representative on the University of California Board of Regents. In recognition of his contributions to the law, education, and academic freedom, UC San Diego and California Western School of Law, in conjunction with the Higgs family, present the DeWitt Higgs Memorial Lecture each year.

View past Higgs Lectures online through the UCSD-TV website.

For more information, contact the Law & Society office at lawandsociety@ucsd.edu or (858) 534-3068

Higgs 2006