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Discovery Communications founder, chairman John S. Hendricks speaks Oct. 20 in University Lectures presentation

October 13, 2009

Kelly Homan Rodoski
(315) 443-3784

As founder and chairman of Discovery Communications, John Hendricks has dramatically expanded learning and education across the globe.  Hendricks will speak on “Modern Media and the Journey of Discovery” in a University Lectures presentation on Tuesday, Oct. 20, at 4 p.m. in Hendricks Chapel. The event is free and open to the public. Reduced-rate parking is available in the Irving Garage. Sign language interpreters and real-time captioning (CART) will be provided for all of the 2009-10 University Lectures.

The lecture will present the challenges of creating a new business from scratch, hurdles that include: (1) raising start-up capital, (2) coping with government regulation, and (3) adapting to changing technologies. The lecture will examine the key consumer demands that have driven the evolution of media and will include innovations in content creation including Discovery's recently-announced CURIOSITY series that will explore enduring questions in science, civilization, and the human experience. The lecture will chronicle the evolution of communications technologies concluding with observations on 3-D media.

HendricksA visionary in the media industry, Hendricks created Discovery Channel, the core property of Discovery Communications, in 1982 as the first cable network in the United States designed to provide high-quality documentary programming, enabling people to explore their world and satisfy their curiosity. Hendricks has been the driving force behind Discovery’s dramatic growth, including the expansion of Discovery Communications to current global operations in more than 170 countries and territories with more than 1.5 billion cumulative subscribers.

Under Hendricks’ leadership, Discovery’s stable of networks now encompasses more than 100 networks of distinctive programming representing 29 entertainment brands, including TLC, Animal Planet, Science Channel and HD Theater. Discovery’s other properties include Discovery Education and Discovery Commerce.

Syracuse University is a contributor to Hendricks’ newest project, “CURIOSITY: The Questions of Our Life,” a landmark 60-episode television series that will explore the fundamental questions of our time. It is slated to debut in January 2011.

Hendricks has been honored with a Primetime Emmy Award and with the Governor’s Award, the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences’ highest honor, for conceiving the TLC series “Great Books.” The Ark Trust named him a recipient of the Genesis Award for lifetime achievement for his efforts in raising awareness around the globe about animal issues.
Hendricks has also been recognized as the first corporate leader to receive the National Education Association’s Friend of Education award for “innovations in education and technology and greatly expanding educational opportunity for America’s schoolchildren.”

The “CURIOSITY” series is a five-year, multi-million-dollar, multi-platform programming initiative aimed at tackling the fundamental questions and underlying mysteries of our time in fields such as space, biology, geology, medicine, physics, technology, nature, archeology, history and the human mind. A companion initiative in K-12 schools will serve to drive engagement in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines nationwide.

SU faculty members are currently engaged with Hendricks and Discovery Communications in formulating the fundamental questions for the series.

Now in its ninth season, University Lectures is a cross-disciplinary lecture series that brings to the University individuals of exceptional accomplishment. The series is supported by the generosity of the University’s Trustees, alumni and friends. The lectures are free and open to the public.

Lecturers for the 2009-10 season include Marian Wright Edelman, founder of the Children’s Defense Fund (Nov. 3); Ira Glass, host of Chicago Public Radio’s ‘This American Life” (Nov. 17); sustainability expert Alex Steffen (March 2); Scott Simon, host of NPR’s Weekend Edition (March 9) and Nobel Laureate and poet Seamus Heaney (April 13).

The Office of University Lectures welcomes suggestions for future speakers. For additional information about University Lectures, or to recommend a speaker, contact Esther Gray in the Office of Academic Affairs at 443-2941 or More information can be found at the University Lectures website,

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