University of the Cumberlands is proud to announce Laila Ali as the speaker for this year’s Excellence in Leadership Series. The event will be held on Tuesday, April 9 at 7:00 p.m. in the O. Wayne Rollins Center on Cumberlands’ campus. Tickets are free and will be available to the public starting March 1 at

“We are very pleased to have Laila Ali coming to Williamsburg,” said Dr. Larry L. Cockrum, President of the University. “Laila is a four-time undefeated boxing world champion, mother, home chef, author, wife, television host, and lifestyle expert. She is also the daughter of the late Muhammad Ali, who was a champion boxer, renowned humanitarian, and global icon. We believe Laila has a great story to share with our students and the community.”

Ali is the first woman in history to provide expert commentary for NBC Sports and is a panelist and contributor for CBS Sports’ We Need to Talk, the first-ever nationally televised all-female sports talk show. She is a past president of the Women’s Sports Foundation. Ali also supports charitable organizations such as Feeding America and Peace 4 Kids.

Most recently, Ali has gained recognition for her role as a lifestyle expert, authoring a cookbook and hosting a podcast and television show that dive into what it means to live a healthy lifestyle. She has had numerous guest roles on television, ranging in genre from cooking shows to Dancing with the Stars.

“We’re all here for a reason,” Ali said in a recent interview. “I want to share some of the things I have been through and encourage others to not let their past define them. You can always find your way.”

Cumberlands’s annual lecture series is made possible by an endowment from local business owners Dr. Terry and Mrs. Marion Forcht. Previous speakers at the Excellence in Leadership Series include Terry Bradshaw, Shaquille O’Neal, Ben Carson, and others.

Located in Williamsburg, Kentucky, University of the Cumberlands is an institution of regional distinction offering quality undergraduate, graduate, doctoral, and online degree programs. Learn more at