Nicholas Sparks, Harper Hill to speak for ULS


Two prominent authors – one whose novels have been adapted to million-dollar box office movies and another who is an actor and philanthropist – will visit campus this semester to kick off this semester’s line-up of speakers for the University Lecture Series (ULS). 

Self-help author and actor Hill Harper will speak Jan. 22, followed by romantic novelist, screenwriter and movie producer Nicholas Sparks who will speak Feb. 13.

The third speaker for the lecture series has not yet been determined, according to the Center for Student Involvement, which hosts the lecture series. 

Harper, who graduated from Brown University and was a classmate of President Barack Obama at Harvard Law School before moving to Los Angeles to begin an acting career, according to, is perhaps best known for his acting on “Covert Affairs,” and has written multiple self-help books including “Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny” and “Letters to a Young Sister: DeFINE Your Destiny.”

He won an NAACP Image Award for his acting, and also started the Manifest Your Destiny Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to providing resources and scholarships to disadvantaged youth.

Harper’s lecture, part of USF’s Martin Luther King Week, will include personal anecdotes and discuss why education is the ultimate stepping stone to success, an event page on Facebook by ULS states. 

A day before Valentine’s Day, students will have the chance to hear Sparks, one of the most commercially successful gurus of literary love stories who has written more than a dozen romance novels that have inspired movies such as “The Notebook,” “Dear John,” and “The Last Song.”

Both Sparks and Harper are contracted to have book signings following the lectures and a brief Q-and-A session. Sparks’ lecture will cost ULS $39,500, while Harper’s lecture will cost $22,000. ULS paid a total of $69,000 for speakers to come to campus last semester, part of its $264,152 budget allocated by Student Government.