Beginning with the 2012-2013 academic year, convocation audio files are archived separately from video files. View the audio archives.
- Created 15 October 2010; Published 1 November 2010Convocation: 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."
- Created 1 October 2010; Published 6 October 2010Convocation: 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."
- Created 24 September 2010; Published 25 September 2010Convocation: 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."
- Created 13 September 2010; Published 23 September 2010Opening 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."
- Created 28 May 2010; Published 1 June 2010Honors Convocation: Robert A. Oden, Jr.
The Honors Convocation is held each year on the last Friday of spring term to recognize faculty and students for their accomplishments and their service to the community. This year's address, titled "Listening to Ancient Voices," was delivered by Robert A. Oden, Jr., President and Professor of Religion.
- Created 14 May 2010; Published 24 May 2010Convocation: Kevin Clements
Kevin Clements is the Foundation Chair of Peace and Conflict Studies and Director of the New Zealand Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Otago in New Zealand, and Secretary General of the International Peace Research Association. Prior to taking up these positions he was the Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies and Foundation Director of the Australian Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Queensland in Australia. He had previously served as Secretary General of International Alert, one of the world’s largest NGO's working on conflict transformation in Africa, the Caucasus, Asia and Latin America. He has also been Professor of Conflict Resolution and Director of the Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University in Virginia and head of the Peace Research Centre at the Australian National University. Clements' career has been a combination of academic analysis and practice in the areas of peace building and conflict transformation. He was formerly Director of the Quaker United Nations Office in Geneva and a member of the New Zealand Delegation to the Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference. Clements has been an advisor on defense, security and conflict issues to a range of governmental and non-governmental organizations in Australasia, the United States and Europe. Over the past two decades, he has served as chairman, facilitator and keynote speaker at many international peace and conflict resolution conferences. The title of his presentation was "Enlarging Boundaries of Compassion: Opportunities and Challenges for Peace Research in the 21st Century."
- Created 7 May 2010; Published 24 May 2010Convocation: Oliver Wang
Oliver Wang writes on pop music, culture, and politics for a variety of publications and outlets including: NPR, Vibe, Wax Poetics, LA Times,Oakland Tribune, Village Voice, SF Bay Guardian, URB, LA Weekly, Scratch, SJ Metro and Minneapolis City Pages, amongst others. He also maintains a separate site, Chasing Chan, for his writing on Asian American cinema. In 2003, he edited and co-authored the book, Classic Material: The Hip-Hop Album Guide. Wang has a PhD in Ethnic Studies from UC Berkeley. His dissertation, a social history of the Filipino American mobile DJ community in the Bay Area, has since been turned into a community research project called "Legions of Boom" and currently being adapted into a manuscript to be published by Duke University Press. As Assistant Professor of Sociology at CSU-Long Beach, Wang teaches courses in popular culture, social issues and race/class/gender. The title of his presentation was "Something Borrowed, Something New: Asian American Popular Culture."
- Created 30 April 2010; Published 24 May 2010Convocation: Richard Moss '77
Richard Moss (Carleton Class of 1977) works at the intersection of climate science and policy as Senior Scientist at the Joint Global Change Research Institute at the University of Maryland. He directed the U.S. government's climate research program from 2000-2006 (spanning the Clinton and Bush administrations) and led preparation of a number of reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) from 1993-1998. He also led climate change programs at the World Wildlife Fund and the United Nations Foundation. Moss remains active in the IPCC and attended the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in 2007, when IPCC shared the award with Al Gore. He is also active in the climate research committees of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. An English literature major at Carleton, Moss received his Ph.D. in public policy from Princeton before delving into climate change research. Moss’ experiences demonstrate the value of a liberal arts education and Carleton's distribution requirements! The title of his presentation was "What Do We Need to Know to Act on Climate Change?"
- Created 23 April 2010; Published 27 April 2010Convocation: Cheryl Klein ’00
Cheryl Klein (Carleton Class of 2000) is the senior editor at Arthur A. Levine Books / Scholastic, where she has worked since her graduation from Carleton. She has edited an extensive list of picture books and novels for young readers, including Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork, winner of the Schneider Family Book Award for Teens; A Curse Dark as Gold by Elizabeth C. Bunce, winner of the ALA's William Morris Award for a Young Adult Debut Novel; Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit by Nahoko Uehashi, translated by Cathy Hirano, winner of the Mildred Batchelder Award for Translation; and My Senator and Me: A Dog's Eye View of Washington, D.C. by Senator Ted Kennedy, illustrated by David Small. She also served as the continuity editor for the last three books of the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling. Assuming the role of the series' chief "Potterologist," as Time magazine dubbed her, Klein was responsible for ensuring that the elaborate world J.K. Rowling had created—with a complex cast of characters, a thorough set of magical rules, and a language of its own—was as consistent as possible. A former Carletonian copy editor, Klein is in her dream job, working with a diverse and talented group of authors and illustrators on an equally diverse array of projects. The title of her presentation was "The Wand Chooses the Wizard: On Carleton, Children’s Books, and Creating Yourself."
- Created 16 April 2010; Published 22 April 2010Convocation: Ronald Heifetz
Ronald Heifetz is one of the world's leading authorities on leadership. In contemporary America, a traditionally respectful and idealistic view of people in positions of power is changing. High-profile scandals and abuses of power have undermined the public’s perception of his leaders in both the political and business worlds, realigning the very ideal of leadership. What sort of behavior makes for effective leadership in today’s world? The work of Heifetz provides insight into this question. The founding director of the Center for Public Leadership at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, Heifetz is renowned worldwide for his seminal work on both the practice and teaching of leadership. Co-founder and principal of Cambridge Leadership Associates, Heifetz consults extensively in the United States and abroad, with clients who include senior executives at major corporations, leaders of non-profits, and heads of nations. His widely acclaimed book, Leadership Without Easy Answers, is currently beyond its thirteenth printing and has been translated into many languages.
- Created 9 April 2010; Published 12 April 2010Convocation: Norma Ramos
Norma Ramos is a longstanding public interest attorney and social justice activist. She currently serves as the Co-Executive Director of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women, which is the first organization to fight against human trafficking internationally, now in its twenty-first year. She writes and speaks extensively about the sexual exploitation of women and girls as a core global injustice. An eco-feminist, Ramos links the worldwide inequality and destruction of women to the destruction of the environment. The title of her presentation was "Ending Human Trafficking in Our Lifetime."
- Created 2 April 2010; Published 12 April 2010Convocation: Daniel Seddiqui
Daniel Seddiqui has recently completed his mission to work 50 different jobs in 50 states. He has been everything from a rodeo announcer in South Dakota, a model in North Carolina, a marine biologist in Washington, to a border patrol agent in Arizona. Why would anyone put themselves through such a grueling experience? Seddiqui's goal was to help Americans understand each other's lives, respect each other's hard work and stimulate peoples' curiosity about different lifestyles. Unaware of what life was like outside his "bubble", he was on a mission to explore the many careers, environments, and cultures that America has to offer. To explore the lifestyle that each state has to offer, he chose one career per state – a career that is popular and represented that state. Through his website Livingthemap.com, Seddiqui chronicled his cross-country adventure, as he worked as an insurance broker in Connecticut, a golf caddie in Hawaii, a sugar maker in Vermont, and an auto mechanic in Michigan, just to name a few of his many 'professions'. The title of his presentation was "Crossing Borders."
- Created 26 February 2010; Published 5 March 2010Convocation: Patrice Gaines
Patrice Gaines is an award winning journalist and former Washington Post reporter who has proven that you cannot judge a book by its cover. She grew up a self-hating young woman, entering one abusive relationship after another. She became a heroin user, went to prison for possession of the drug and was raped and beaten before she began her long contemplative journey to change. She later began her journalism career at the Miami News, and worked for sixteen years as a reporter with the Washington Post, where she carved a niche for herself focusing on human-interest stories that reflected current issues. During this time she spent six years researching a notorious Washington, D.C. murder for which eight young men remain incarcerated. Her work on the story raised serious doubts about the guilt of the youths and showed readers the absolute power wielded by police and prosecutors. This story plus her own experience with the judicial and penal systems sparked her to begin speaking on the states of those systems today, including the high rate of incarceration among minorities and the poor, questionable police practices, prosecutors with too much power, and the weeding out of bad lawyers. She also offers an engaging look at the power of the press, told from an insider point of view. The title of her presentation was "How We Can All Be Free: Prison Reform in the 21st Century."
- Created 19 February 2010; Published 5 March 2010Convocation: Lisa Dodson
A research professor in Boston College’s Department of Sociology, Dr. Lisa Dodson has spent the last twenty-five years listening to everyday people talk about their lives and their place in the society. She is widely known for her policy research on low-wage families and has testified in U.S. Congressional hearings and to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, arguing for better work and family policies. Her newest book The Moral Underground examines the profound harm of a deeply stratified economy.
- Created 5 February 2010; Published 12 February 2010Convocation: E. Patrick Johnson
E. Patrick Johnson is Professor, Chair, and Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Performance Studies and Professor in African American Studies at Northwestern University. A scholar and artist, Johnson has performed nationally and internationally and has published widely in the area of race, gender, sexuality and performance. His book Appropriating Blackness: Performance and the Politics of Authenticity has won several awards, including the Lilla A. Heston Award, the Errol Hill Book Award, and was a finalist for the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award. The title of his presentation was "In Search of My Roots/Routes: Researching and Performing Sweet Tea."