Recordings of Convocations

Beginning with the 2012-2013 academic year, convocation audio files are archived separately from video files. View the audio archives.

Convocation: R. Dale Guthrie

Created 15 October 2010; Published 1 November 2010

Professor emeritus at the Institute of Arctic Biology at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, R. Dale Guthrie is a renowned paleobiologist and artist. His many books and papers have covered a wide range of interests, including evolutionary dwarfing, social anatomy, causes of extinctions, climatic change and human evolution. In the past few decades his lifelong hunting experience and hobbies of painting and sculpting have dovetailed with his scientific interests, leading to his landmark study, The Natural History of Paleolithic Art.

Prior to Guthrie's book there was no widespread practice of using information and ideas from natural history and studies of human universals in approaching the thousands of art images made by members of Eurasian Ice Age bands. The cave paintings and other preserved remnants of Paleolithic peoples shed light on a world little known to us. With a natural historian's keen eye for observation, and as one who has spent a lifetime using bones and other excavated materials to piece together past human behavior and environments, Guthrie demonstrates that Paleolithic art is a mode of expression we can comprehend to a remarkable degree and that the perspective of natural history is integral to that comprehension. He employs a mix of ethology, evolutionary biology, and human universals, along with innovative forensic techniques, to access these distant cultures and their art and artifacts.

The title of Dr. Guthrie's presentation was "Evolution of Art, Morality, and Romantic Love in the Ice Age Human Band."

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Other Items

  • Mike Kim
    Created 25 February 2011; Published 9 March 2011
    Convocation: Mike Kim

    Mike Kim is the founder of Crossing Borders, an NGO providing aid to North Koreans. On New Year's Day 2003, he gave up his financial planning business in Chicago, Illinois and left for China on a one-way ticket carrying little more than two duffel bags. While living near the North Korean border, he operated undercover as a student of North Korean taekwondo, training under North Korean masters from Pyongyang—eventually receiving a second-degree black belt. During his time in China, he learned of the hundreds of thousands of North Koreans fleeing to China through a 6,000-mile modern-day underground railway across Asia in search of food and freedom. Kim provides a rare and unique inside look into the hidden world of ordinary North Koreans, recounting their experiences of enduring famine, sex-trafficking, and torture, as well as the inspirational stories of those who overcame tremendous adversity to escape the repressive regime of their homeland and make new lives. The title of his presentation was “Escaping North Korea.”

  • Sonia Shah
    Created 18 February 2011; Published 9 March 2011
    Convocation: Sonia Shah

    Investigating how science and politics collide in a lop-sided world, Sonia Shah is a critically acclaimed writer on science, human rights, and international politics. Shah was born in New York City to Indian immigrants. Growing up, she shuttled between the northeastern United States where her parents practiced medicine and Mumbai and Bangalore, India, where her extended working-class family lived, developing a life-long interest in inequality between and within societies. As an undergraduate at Oberlin College, she earned her BA in journalism, philosophy, and neuroscience. Her books have included Crude: The Story of Oil and her prize-winning drug industry exposé, The Body Hunters: Testing New Drugs on the World's Poorest Patients. In her latest book, The Fever: How Malaria Has Ruled Humankind for 500,000 Years, Shah reveals the amazing story of malaria, a disease that infects one-half billion people every year, killing nearly 1 million – despite the fact that we’ve known how to prevent and cure the disease for over one hundred years.

  • Jeff Blodgett '83
    Created 11 February 2011; Published 21 February 2011
    Convocation: Jeff Blodgett '83

    With 28 years experience in community organizing and political management, Jeff Blodgett is the founding director of Wellstone Action, a national center for training and leadership development. The organization’s mission is to ignite leadership in people and power in communities to win change in the progressive tradition of Paul and Sheila Wellstone. Blodgett studied with Paul Wellstone at Carleton College and began his career as a community organizer, working with hard-pressed family farmers during the 1980s farm crisis. He later spent 13 years as a senior aide, advisor, and campaign manager to the late Senator, managing all three of his election campaigns, including the hard-fought 2002 race that was tragically cut short by a plane crash. In addition to his leadership of Wellstone Action, Blodgett also trains, teaches, and writes extensively on political skills, public management, and leadership. A 1983 graduate of Carleton College, he earned his Masters of Public Administration from Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government and teaches in the Masters Advocacy and Political Leadership program at the University of Minnesota Duluth. The title of his presentation was “Working for What You Believe In: Leadership and Political Change The Wellstone Way.”

  • R. L'Heureux Lewis
    Created 4 February 2011; Published 11 February 2011
    Convocation: R. L'Heureux Lewis

    R. L’Heureux Lewis is an Assistant Professor of Sociology and Black Studies at the City College of New York – CUNY. His research concentrates on issues of educational inequality, the role of race in contemporary society, and mental health well-being. The changing national and international landscape necessitate deeper, more sustainable, and meaningful engagement conversations and research. Through his writing, speaking, and commentary his work analyzes some of the most pressing issues in the post-Civil Rights era. With specializations in race and ethnic relations, his research and activism grapple with the areas of education, youth culture, public policy, and mental health. As a scholar-activist, he is engaged in projects relating to the reformation of education, Hip-Hop culture activism, and race-conscious policies. His commentary has been featured in media outlets such as US World News Report, Diversity in Higher Education, National Public Radio, theRoot.com and the Detroit Free Press. The title of his presentation was "Stony the Road We Trod: The March Towards Educational Justice."

  • Amy Domini
    Created 28 January 2011; Published 11 February 2011
    Convocation: Amy Domini

    A leading figure in socially responsible investing, Amy Domini is the founder and CEO of Domini Social Investments. The mission of this investment management company is to provide investment vehicles to the socially responsible investor. Shareholders in the Domini Funds make a different in the world by engaging companies on global warming, sweatshop labor, and product safety; revitalizing distressed communities; bringing new voices to the table; and redefining corporate America’s bottom line. Current offerings include a domestic equity fund, a bond fund, a European equity fund and an insured money market account. Both the bond fund and money market account directly support community development financial institutions. The equity funds facilitate direct dialogue between corporations and activists by filing shareholder resolutions with certain portfolio companies. In 2005, Time magazine named Domini to the Time 100 list of the world’s most influential people. Later that year, President Bill Clinton honored her at the inaugural meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative for helping protect children and the environment through the Domini Global Giving Fund. A frequent guest commentator on CNBC’s Talking Stocks and various other radio and television programs, Domini is also the author of Socially Responsible Investing: Making a Difference and Making Money.

  • Larry Buxbaum
    Created 21 January 2011; Published 11 February 2011
    Convocation: Larry Buxbaum

    Larry Buxbaum is the Executive Director of the Hennepin County Bar Association, the largest of Minnesota’s twenty-one district bar associations, representing approximately one-half of all Minnesota attorneys. The mission of the HCBA is to advance professionalism, ethical conduct, diversity, competence, practice development, and collegiality in the legal profession. The association also strives to ensure the fairness and accessibility of the legal system by promoting public understanding and confidence in our system of justice and by working along with the courts to improve the administration of justice. Buxbaum has worked closely with the legislature to support the court’s concerns, particularly focusing on the court budget crisis. Within the association he has introduced several new initiatives and leads the association’s Law and Literature series, continuing legal education seminars focusing on issues of ethics and elimination of bias. Buxbaum is regarded as an authority in the use of literature as a tool to teach values and ethics to professionals in a variety of fields (legal, medical, engineering). The title of his presentation was "Literature and Professional Value Systems."

  • Jesse Schell
    Created 14 January 2011; Published 18 January 2011
    Convocation: Jesse Schell

    Assistant professor in the Entertainment Technology Center at Carnegie Mellon University, Jesse Schell teaches classes in game design and leads several projects, including the Game Innovation Database, a systematic study of the history of videogame innovations, and Hazmat: Hotzone, an anti-terror team training game for the nation's firefighters. Schell is also the CEO of Schell Games, an independent game studio in Pittsburgh, and the chairman emeritus of the International Game Developers Association. In 2004 he was named one of the world’s Top 100 Young Innovators by Technology Review, MIT’s magazine of innovation. He is the author of the award winning book The Art of Game Design.

  • Sister Helen Prejean speaks at the Opening Convocation of Winter Term 2011.
    Created 7 January 2011; Published 18 January 2011
    Convocation: Sister Helen Prejean

    Author of Dead Man Walking, Roman Catholic nun Sister Helen Prejean offers a candid and intense meditation on the complex and troubling issue of capital punishment. Her book was made into an Academy award winning film starring Susan Sarandon. Prejean counsels death-row inmates and their families around the country, and has written her second book The Death of Innocents: An Eyewitness Account of Wrongful Executions. The title of her presentation was "Dead Man Walking – The Journey Continues."

    Read a story about Sister Helen Prejean's visit in the Jan. 14, 2011 issue of The Carletonian.

  • Michael Armacost '58
    Created 5 November 2010; Published 8 November 2010
    Convocation: Michael Armacost '58

    A veteran diplomat and a prominent figure in the national and international policy community, Michael Armacost is currently a fellow at Stanford University’s Institute for International Studies. He had previously served as president of Washington D.C.’s Brookings Institution, the nation’s oldest think tank and a leader in research on politics, government, international affairs, economics, and public policy. During a prior twenty-four year government career, Armacost served, among other positions, as undersecretary of state for political affairs and as ambassador to Japan and the Philippines. He is the author of three books. The most recent, Friends or Rivals?, draws on his tenure as ambassador to Japan and considers the future dealings of the United States with this extremely important trading partner and ally. He also co-authored The Future of America's Alliances in Northeast Asia, which examines the similarities and differences of America’s alliances with Japan and South Korea. The title of his presentation was "How Should We Think About China: Threat? Partner? Competitor? Wake-Up Call?"

  • Suzan Harjo
    Created 29 October 2010; Published 8 November 2010
    Convocation: Suzan Harjo

    Cheyenne and Hodulgee Muscogee, Suzan Harjo is a poet, writer, lecturer, curator and policy advocate, who has helped Native Peoples recover more than one million acres of land. As president of The Morning Star Institute, a national Indian rights organization founded in 1984, she has taken the lead in the Native American sports team mascots controversy. She was also a founding trustee of the National Museum of the American Indian. In addition to having worked as news director of the American Indian Press Association, she is a columnist for Indian Country Today, the leading Native American newspaper. Her commentary and poetry are widely published. The title of her presentation was "Treaties and Other Promises: Words Matter and Keeping One's Word Matters More."

  • Robert Bullard
    Created 22 October 2010; Published 1 November 2010
    Convocation: Robert Bullard

    Father of the environmental justice movement and human rights activist, Robert Bullard leads the fight to protect disempowered communities. He is the author of a multitude of books that address issues of sustainable development, environmental racism, urban land use, industrial facility siting, community reinvestment, housing, transportation, climate justice, emergency response, smart growth, and regional equity. Many of his books have become standard texts in the environmental justice field.

    Currently serving as the Ware Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Director of the Environmental Justice Resource Center at Clark Atlanta University, Bullard is also one of the planners of the First and Second National People of Color Environmental Leadership Summit, and has also served on the U.S. EPA National Environment Justice Advisory Council where he chaired the Health and Research Subcommittee. The title of his presentation was "Environmental Justice for All."

  • R. Dale Guthrie
    Created 15 October 2010; Published 1 November 2010
    Convocation: R. Dale Guthrie

    Professor emeritus at the Institute of Arctic Biology at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, R. Dale Guthrie is a renowned paleobiologist and artist. His many books and papers have covered a wide range of interests, including evolutionary dwarfing, social anatomy, causes of extinctions, climatic change and human evolution. In the past few decades his lifelong hunting experience and hobbies of painting and sculpting have dovetailed with his scientific interests, leading to his landmark study, The Natural History of Paleolithic Art.

    Prior to Guthrie's book there was no widespread practice of using information and ideas from natural history and studies of human universals in approaching the thousands of art images made by members of Eurasian Ice Age bands. The cave paintings and other preserved remnants of Paleolithic peoples shed light on a world little known to us. With a natural historian's keen eye for observation, and as one who has spent a lifetime using bones and other excavated materials to piece together past human behavior and environments, Guthrie demonstrates that Paleolithic art is a mode of expression we can comprehend to a remarkable degree and that the perspective of natural history is integral to that comprehension. He employs a mix of ethology, evolutionary biology, and human universals, along with innovative forensic techniques, to access these distant cultures and their art and artifacts.

    The title of Dr. Guthrie's presentation was "Evolution of Art, Morality, and Romantic Love in the Ice Age Human Band."

  • Rudolph Byrd
    Created 1 October 2010; Published 6 October 2010
    Convocation: Rudolph Byrd

    The Goodrich C. White Professor of American Studies at Emory University, Rudolph Byrd began his academic career at Carleton College where he was a member of the Department of English and Chair of the Program of African and African American Studies. He joined the faculty of Emory University in 1991 and is the founding director of the James Weldon Johnson Institute for Advanced Interdisciplinary Studies, established in 2007. Named for James Weldon Johnson, author, composer, educator, lawyer, diplomat, and pioneering leader in the modern civil rights movement, the Johnson Institute is the first institute at Emory University established to honor the achievements of an American of African descent. One of the premiere sites in the nation for the study of the modern civil rights movement, the work of the Johnson Institute is to offer a framework for understanding the history and legacy of civil rights, and to provide a context to explain the ways in which the civil rights movement continues to have relevance. The Johnson Institute is the home of the Alice Walker Literary Society, of which Byrd is the founding co-chair. An engaged scholar committed to service and scholarship at the local and national levels, Byrd is also a consultant to the United Negro College Fund/Andrew W. Mellon Programs. The title of his presentation was "Regarding James Weldon Johnson."

  • Steven G. Poskanzer
    Created 24 September 2010; Published 25 September 2010
    Convocation: Steve Poskanzer

    The eleventh president of Carleton College, Steven G. Poskanzer assumed his new role on August 2. Originally from Central New York, Poskanzer attended Princeton University as an undergraduate, where he studied International Relations with a concentration in African Studies. He subsequently received his J.D. from Harvard Law School, after which he launched his career into higher education. Formerly chief of staff to the president at the University of Chicago for four years, Poskanzer served for the past 12 years in the SUNY system, the New York state system of higher education that encompasses 64 campuses. He held associate and senior associate provost positions in the main SUNY office, the final two years as head of the office of academic affairs. He became vice provost for academic affairs in 2000 before moving to the SUNY–New Paltz campus in October 2001 as that institution’s president, serving first on an interim basis until being named permanently to the position in 2003. Having served leadership roles at both public and private institutions of higher education gives Poskanzer a unique perspective as the new president of Carleton College. The title of his convocation address was "Setting Prairie Fires."

  • Jimmy Kolker '70 gives the Convocation Address at Opening Convocation.
    Created 13 September 2010; Published 23 September 2010
    Opening Convocation: Jimmy Kolker '70

    Carleton’s opening convocation is an annual all-college assembly celebrating the beginning of the academic year and recognizing academic achievement. This year's address will be given by Jimmy Kolker (Carleton Class of 1970), Chief of the HIV/AIDS Section at UNICEF's New York headquarters. In this position, Kolker provides leadership and coordination of UNICEF's work on HIV and AIDS at the global level. Prior to joining UNICEF, Kolker served as Deputy Global AIDS Coordinator in the Office of the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator, which leads implementation of the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. He served in numerous political reporting and management assignments during his 30-year diplomatic career with the U.S. Department of State, including positions as U.S. Ambassador to Uganda and Burkina Faso, as Deputy Chief of Mission in Denmark and Botswana, and additional posts in Britain, Sweden, Zimbabwe and Mozambique. In his address, Kolker reflected on his experience of living an international life, and about the liberal arts as preparation for a career that doesn't yet exist (since there were no AIDS experts when Kolker graduated from Carleton 40 years ago). The title of his address was "Why Carleton Is a Good Place to Start Your International Career."

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