Former U.S. Senator Olympia Snowe of Maine will be the inaugural speaker for the new Presidential Distinguished Visitors Series at the University of Central Florida.

Snowe, a well-respected political moderate, will meet with groups of UCF students on Thursday, March 13, before giving a free public presentation about how to bridge the partisan divide in Washington, D.C. Her presentation will begin at 3 p.m. in the Cape Florida Ballroom of the Student Union.

“The Presidential Distinguished Visitors Series will expand our students’ opportunities to interact with leaders engaged in solving the most important challenges facing our society and to understand how citizens can be part of those solutions,” UCF President John C. Hitt said.

“We look forward to welcoming Senator Snowe as our first speaker. She is a distinguished consensus-builder, and finding solutions to the partisan divide in Washington is critical to addressing so many domestic and international issues.”

Snowe is the author of “Fighting for Common Ground: How We Can Fix the Stalemate in Congress.” She believes a citizens’ movement holding government accountable is the primary solution to the gridlock that prompted her to leave the U.S. Senate instead of seeking reelection in 2012.

Snowe will sign copies of her book following her presentation, and her book will be available for sale.

Snowe’s visit to UCF will include meetings with student leaders from The Burnett Honors College, LEAD Scholars and the President’s Leadership Council. She also will meet with faculty members and administrators.

Snowe also will tape an episode of “Global Perspectives” with host John C. Bersia that will air on WUCF TV.

Snowe served for 18 years in the U.S. Senate. She previously served for 16 years in the U.S. House of Representatives, and she was the youngest Republican woman in Congress when she was first elected at age 31 in 1978.

Focusing her attention on efforts to build bipartisan consensus on key issues that matter to Maine and America, Snowe built a reputation as one of Congress’ leading moderates. In 2005, she was named the 54th most powerful woman in the world by Forbes magazine. In 2006, Time Magazine named her one of the top ten U.S. Senators.