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Freedom of Speech.

Freedom of Speech.

UTA Books Seth Meyers, Jeff Corwin, Frank Deford, Cokie Roberts For Free Speaker Series.

By Pete on Tuesday, August 28, 2012 at 2:44 PM

The University of Texas at Arlington may not have shown up on any of the Princeton Review's top or bottom 30 school rankings when those lists were released last week (probably a blessing, actually, given the way some area school ended up looking in those results), but the school definitely has something else going for it: When it comes to booking awesome speakers and making those affairs free and open to the public, UTA is pretty boss.

On the heels of James Franco providing the commencement speech at last May's graduation festivities at the school, UTA announced this week the lineup for its 2012-2013 Maverick Speakers Series.

And it's impressive batch of speakers, to be sure.

Those heading Arlington way as part of this years series: Frank Deford, a 50-year veteran of sports journalism (HBO Sports, Sports Illustrated), will speak at Texas Hall on September 25; ABC News political commentator Cokie Roberts, who will speak at Texas Hall on October 4; U.S. astronaut and retired Navy captain Mark Kelly, who will talk at Texas Hall on February 19; and renowned endangered species advocate and television personality Jeff Corwin, who will speak at the university's sparkling new College Park Center on March 27.

But perhaps the series' biggest coup of all is this one: On November 19, Saturday Night Live's Weekend Update anchor, Seth Meyers, will come to campus for "An Evening With..." event to also be held in the College Park Center.

Now here's the really mind-blowing thing about these events: Aside from preferred seating options, which grant ticket holders closer seats and free parking passes, all of these events are free to attend.

Though free, tickets do need to be processed in advance for attendance and capacity purposes. And, currently, only Deford's speech is on "sale." Passes for Roberts' talk go on sale on September 6, passes for Meyers' event go on sale on October 25, and passes for Kelly's speech go on sale on January 22. Corwin's event, meanwhile, is so far off, UTA isn't even currently listing an on-sale date for those passes.

For more information, visit the UTA event box office's site.

So and Sos.