About the Rockwell Lecture Series

Elizabeth D. Rockwell

Elizabeth D. Rockwell established the Elizabeth D. Rockwell Lecture on Ethics and Leadership in 2004 with the firm belief that the university should host important discussions about leadership and ethics.

Rockwell, who began her association with the University of Houston in 1938 as a student, continued to support UH as one of its most generous benefactors, up until her death in January 2011. A widely respected expert in retirement, estate, investment and tax planning, Rockwell gained national recognition for her work with IRA rules and regulations. She later became executive director of the Private Client Division of CIBC Oppenheimer Corp., retiring in 2001. As her career spanned decades, she never forgot her UH roots.

Past distinguished speakers include:

October 22, 2015 — Jason Silva

Jason Silva, TV personality, filmmaker, and public speaker

November 7, 2013 — Mae C. Jemison

Astronaut, doctor, and founder of the Jemison Group 100 Year Starship project

April 13, 2011 — Neil de Grasse Tyson

Astrophysicist and Director of the Haden Planetarium who explored the future of America in space

April 26, 2010 — Nathan Wolfe

Virologist who explored viral forecasting and the hunt for the next killer virus

November 17, 2008 — Thomas Friedman (postponed due to Hurricane Ike)

Journalist and author

January 17, 2008 — Francis S. Collins & Christine Rosen

Physician-geneticist (Collins) and author (Rosen) who explored the DNA tampering and genetic discrimination (collaboration between UH & Holocaust Museum’s Medicine & Ethics Lecture)

February 7, 2006 — David Gergen

Political commentator and advisor who explored the 21st Century view of ethics and leadership


Tickets are free-of-charge, but seating is limited. All attendees are required to obtain a ticket.

Reserve Rockwell Lecture tickets

The 2018 Speaker


Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., SHRM-SCP is President and Chief Executive Officer of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), the world’s largest HR professional society. He previously served a two-year term as Chair of the SHRM Board of Directors in 2005 and 2006.

Mr. Taylor is the immediate past President and Chief Executive Officer of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, which represents nearly 300,000 students attending public Historically Black Colleges and Universities. In this role, he became a prolific fundraiser, amassing over $100 million in grants and gifts. As an influencer in his field and community, he was named one of the Ebony Magazine “Power 100” in 2011.

Previously, he held positions at IAC/Interactive Corp, first as its Senior Vice President of HR and then as President and Chief Executive Officer of one of IACs operating subsidiaries. Mr. Taylor’s career also spans nearly 15 years in the practice of law and HR, including as Litigation Partner and President of the HR consulting business of the law firm McGuireWoods LLC; Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary for Compass Group USA; General Counsel and Senior Vice President of HR for Viacom’s Paramount Pictures Live Entertainment Group; and Associate General Counsel and Vice President of HR for Blockbuster Entertainment Group.

Mr. Taylor holds both a Doctor of Jurisprudence and a Master of Arts with honors from Drake University. He obtained a Bachelor of Science with honors from the University of Miami. He is licensed to practice law in Florida, Illinois and Washington, DC.He currently serves on the corporate board of Gallup, the leader in organizational consulting and public opinion research, and is a member of the Board of Trustees of the University of Miami and The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art.

Johnny Taylor

Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., SHRM-SCP is President and Chief Executive Officer of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)

Get in Touch

Contact the Rockwell Lecture at the University of Houston


The Rockwell Lecture Series


4300 University Dr.
Houston, TX 77204