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Fall BYU speakers: Obama strategist David Axelrod, Elders Ballard and Christofferson

PROVO — President Obama's former chief strategist and two LDS apostles headline BYU's fall lineup of forum and devotional speakers.

David Axelrod, the political operative who helped Obama win two terms, will speak at a campus forum in the Marriott Center on Oct. 31. Axelrod helped craft the change narrative that swept Obama into the White House in 2008 as the first black president in American history.

He also was Obama's chief campaign strategist in 2012, when the sitting president defeated BYU graduate Mitt Romney. Romney delivered a BYU forum address in 2014.

Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles is scheduled to speak at a BYU devotional on Nov. 14. Elder D. Todd Christofferson, another senior leader of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which operates BYU, will give a devotional address on Dec. 12.

BYU President Kevin J Worthen and his wife, Peggy, kick off the fall speaking schedule with a devotional on Sept. 12.

Another expected highlight will be the Oct. 17 devotional speech by Carolyn Billings, a four-time cancer survivor and the director of sports medicine for BYU sports.

The other forum speakers are:

• Michael Ward, a C.S. Lewis expert at the University of Oxford, Sept. 26

• Laurie Garrett, a bioterrorism expert and the only writer to ever win the Peabody Award, the George Polk Award and a Pulitzer Prize, Nov. 28

The rest of the devotional schedule includes:

• Elder Richard J. Maynes, a General Authority Seventy, Sept. 19

• Elder Carl B. Cook, General Authority Seventy, Oct. 10

• Performance Assembly, Oct. 24

• Elder Wilford W. Andersen, General Authority Seventy, Nov. 7

• Brother Brian K. Ashton, Sunday School General Presidency, Dec. 5

BYU also listed the following forum speakers for winter semester on a program for Monday's University Conference:

• Sister Sharon Eubank, first counselor in the Relief Society general presidency and the director of LDS Charities, Jan. 30

• Dhanurjay "DJ" Patil, the former deputy chief technology officer for data policy and the first chief data scientist in the U.S. Office of Science and Technology Policy, Feb. 13

• Amy Cuddy, a researcher on stereotyping and discrimination whose 2012 TED talk "Your Body Language May Shape Who You Are" has been viewed more than 42 million times, March 27

All devotionals and forums begin at 11:05 a.m. in the Marriott Center. Admission is free and they are open to the public. They are broadcast live on BYUtv,, KBYU-TV 11, Classical 89 FM, BYUradio. BYU devotionals and forums are archived on