University of Southern Indiana

Distinguished Scholars

Each spring, the College of Liberal Arts engages a speaker for the Distinguished Scholars presentation aimed at drawing attention to one or more of the disciplines within the liberal arts, to appeal to the general public and to faculty and students by illustrating high intellectual achievement. Programs are of general humanistic appeal with interdisciplinary topics. The speaker is asked to make one public presentation and one presentation to students.

Upcoming Event

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An Evening with Marisa Kwiatkowski and Tim Evans - Reporters Who Helped Expose Larry Nassar and USA Gymnastics.

February 23, 2022 | 6 P.M. CDT | Carter Hall located in University Center West

Meet the Indianapolis Star Reporters that Uncovered the Sexual Abuse Scandal in USA Gymnastics

USI’s Department of Communications and the College of Liberal Arts are hosting investigative reporters Marisa Kwiatkowski and Tim Evans for the 2022 Liberal Arts Distinguished Scholar Series on February 23, 2022, at 6:00 pm in Carter Hall.

Kwiatkowski and Evans will discuss the USA Gymnastics’ sexual abuse scandal, including how they exposed Larry Nassar’s sexual abuse and USA Gymnastics’ negligence in failing to protect its gymnasts from a serial sexual predator. Through their investigations, Kwiatkowski and her Indy Star colleagues, Evans and Mark Alesia, revealed that not only had Larry Nassar, the doctor for the U.S.  Olympic Gymnastics Team, been accused of serial sexual misconduct, but that USA Gymnastics had suppressed sexual abuse accusations from the young women on the U.S. gymnastics team.

Dr. Jane Weatherred, who is coordinating this event on behalf of the Communications Department at USI, said, “I am thrilled that Marisa and Tim have agreed to share their experiences with USI and the Evansville community. It’s a very important topic relevant to so many fields of study here at USI such as, communications, public relations, journalism, sports management, sociology, psychology, health professions, and criminal justice, just to name a few. It’s an Indiana-based story, a national story and a global story about what kind of positive impact investigative journalism can have our society.”

Kwiatkowski broke the story in August 2016 when she published Out of Balance, a story about USA Gymnastics’ policy of not reporting sexual abuse allegations against coaches. Within days, two women contacted the then-Indy Star reporter, who published their account of abuse.  Subsequently, another 150 people came forward with additional claims that they, too, had been abused in the late 1990s and early 2000s by Nassar. The reporting by Kwiatkowski, Evans, and Alesia instigated a investigation that paved the way for charges against Nassar which ended with his conviction and an additional lawsuit against USA Gymnastics, which is located in Indianapolis.

In December 2021, after 5 years in court, the Nassar abuse survivors reached a $380 million dollar settlement with USA Gymnastics and the US Olympic & Paralympic Committee. More than 500 of Nassar’s sexual abuse victims will be compensated, including Gold Olympic medalists Simon Biles, Aly Raisman, and McKayla Maroney.

About the settlement, survivor Rachel Denhollander posted on her Twitter account, “Important note about this settlement, while the majority of survivors are survivors of Nassar’s abuse, our settlement includes survivors abuse by coaches and other officials in the sport. This is not just a Nassar problem.”

“This journey is an amazing story. It illustrates the power of journalism and the important function journalists have as watchdogs working in the public’s interest. Their perseverance reminds us that research and hard work can reveal the truths needed for a more just society,” said Dr. Leigh Anne Howard, chairperson of the USI Department of Communications. 

Masks are required to attend this event and social distancing guidelines will be followed in Carter Hall.

Marisa Kwiatkowski

Marisa Kwiatkowski is an investigative reporter at USA TODAY. She previously worked for media outlets in Michigan, South Carolina and Indiana. Marisa’s work has spurred federal and state investigations, criminal charges, resignations and changes to federal law and state policy. She and her IndyStar colleagues earned national and state awards for their investigation into USA Gymnastics’ handling of child sexual abuse allegations, including those against former doctor Larry Nassar. Marisa has earned more than 50 other journalism awards. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Grand Valley State University and a master’s degree in business administration from Indiana University. Marisa can be reached at or @byMarisaK.

Tim Evans joined the staff at The Indianapolis Star in 1997 and is a longtime member of the investigative team. As a member of the award-winning investigative team, Evans has written about a wide range of topics including Dr. Larry Nassar and sexual abuse in gymnastics, fraud and waste in government, the state's troubled nursing home industry, the deadly State Fair stage collapse, questionable asset seizures by police and prosecutors, the Litebox fiasco, problems at the state Department of Toxicology, and the inappropriate actions of the former head of the Department of Child Services in a case involving his grandchildren. Since 2016, he’s also overseen IndyStar Call for Action, the free consumer helpline that has saved or recovered more than $1.5 million for Hoosiers.

Questions about the presentation can be directed to Dr. Jane Weatherred, Communications Department,

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