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Sarah Thomas, the NFL’s first female official, will be the speaker for the 31st presentation in the John Paul Hammerschmidt Lecture Series on Nov. 19.

Sarah Thomas, the NFL’s first female official and one of the Sports Illustrated 100 Most Influential Figures of All Time, will speak Tuesday, Nov. 19, at North Arkansas College in the John Paul Hammerschmidt Lecture Series.

Sarah Thomas changed the game in the world’s most quintessential male-dominated sport—football — when she became the first female NFL official. Now she’s inspiring others to dream big and believe anything is possible.

Officiating her first game Sept. 13, 2015, between the Kansas City Chiefs and Houston Texans, Thomas’ hat, whistle and flag are now on display at the NFL Hall of Fame and serve as a testament to this historic achievement.

Thomas also made post-season history by being named Down Judge for the Patriots/Chargers 2019 playoff game. No stranger to being the first or breaking gender-barriers, she was the first female official to ever work a major college football game, to officiate a bowl game and to officiate in a Big Ten stadium.

Since her addition to the NFL's roster of officials, Thomas has become a trail-blazing inspiration to women everywhere, embodying the notion that with a belief in self, inner drive, hard work, preparation and a mindset of being the best you can be, no barrier or ceiling is impenetrable.

With the same unflappability that it takes to make a split-second call on the field, she exudes equal confidence on stage as she shares key insights on overcoming adversity – and the odds – finding your passion while maintaining work-life balance, decision-making and not only succeeding as a female in a male-dominated industry, but achieving breakthrough success for males and females alike.

This will be the 31st presentation in the JPH Lecture Series. Former Cong. John Paul Hammerschmidt passed away in early 2015. His son, John Arthur Hammerschmidt, serves on the Lecture Committee and carries forward his father’s efforts to bring renowned speakers to the Harrison area at no charge to the public.

The lecture will be open to the public free of charge and will begin at 6:30 p.m. in the John Paul Hammerschmidt Conference Room on the south campus.

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