Free tickets available September 3 as Cameron University kicks off Academic Festival with Rick Bayless

graphic of festival logoCameron University will kick off its triennial Academic Festival, “Sustainability: Challenges and Opportunities,” with a presentation by nationally acclaimed chef and agricultural activist Rick Bayless. The event, which is free and open to the public, takes place at Cameron University Theatre on Thursday, September 25 at 7:30 p.m. A reception and book signing will follow. Tickets are required for admission and can be reserved online at beginning Wednesday, September 3 at 8 a.m. Tickets will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis.

“It is a pleasure to welcome Rick Bayless to the Cameron campus,” says CU President John McArthur.  “His passion and dedication to regional culture and food preparation are matched by his commitment to providing support of Midwestern family farms.”

photo of Rick BaylessA native of Oklahoma City, Bayless owns a number of restaurants in Chicago, and his award-winning Frontera line of salsas, cooking sauces and organic chips can be found coast-to-coast. In 2003, Bayless and his staff established the Frontera Farmer Foundation (FFF) to support small Midwestern farms. Each year, grants are awarded to farmers for capital improvements to their family farms, encouraging greater production and profitability. To date, FFF has awarded $1.2 million to 71 farms. In 2007, Bayless and his team launched the Frontera Scholarship, a full-tuition scholarship that sends a Mexican-American Chicago Public School student to Kendall College to study culinary arts. That same year, he was named Humanitarian of the Year by the International Association of Culinary Professionals for his many philanthropic endeavors.

“Sustainability: Challenges and Opportunities” will continue throughout the 2014-15 academic year. Through a series of presentations by nationally recognized speakers, Cameron will consider several other aspects of sustainability, including water and natural resources; sustainability in communities; and practicing a sustainable lifestyle.

The McCasland Foundation of Duncan is the primary sponsor of “Sustainability: Challenges and Opportunities.” Over the years, financial support for the Academic Festivals has come from the McCasland/Amquest Bank Endowed Chair, established by the McCasland Foundation in 1989. Additional funding for this year’s festival is provided by the Cameron University Foundation and through the Cameron University Lectures and Concerts Series.

“Sustainability: Challenges and Opportunities” continues Cameron’s popular series of Academic Festivals. Cameron’s first Academic Festival, “Year of the Renaissance,” took place in 1991-92. Themes of previous Academic Festivals include cultural diversity; science and technology; bridging the millennium; globalization and the human experience; health and wellness; and, most recently, an in-depth study of the country of Afghanistan.

For more information, contact the Cameron University Office of Public Affairs at 581-2211 or via e-mail at



August 25, 2014

PR# 14-138