Recordings of Convocations

Convocation: Ray Suarez

Created 19 May 2006; Published 22 May 2006

Ray Suarez has more than twenty-five years of varied experience in the news business, covering such issues as immigration, education, and the relationship of religion in politics. As a Washington-based senior correspondent for the PBS program "The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer," he is responsible for conducting newsmaker interviews, studio discussion and debates, reporting from the field and serving as a backup anchor. He came to "The NewsHour" from National Public Radio where he had been host of the nationwide call-in news program "Talk of the Nation." He also currently serves as host for American RadioWorks, the documentary unit of American Public Media ( The title of his presentation is "The Holy Vote: The Politics of Faith in America."

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Other Items

  • Created 9 February 2007; Published 28 February 2007
    Convocation: Debra Liang-Fenton

    "The Challenge of Human Rights in North Korea." The denial of human rights in North Korea is a terrible injustice that can no longer be ignored. As Executive Director of the U.S. Committee for Human Rights in North Korea, Debra Liang-Fenton discusses the politics of famine, the inhumane treatment of political prisoners, and military buildup.

  • Created 26 January 2007; Published 31 January 2007
    Convocation: Sandra Steingraber

    "Contaminated Without Consent: How Exposure to Chemical Pollutants in Air, Food and Water Violates Human Rights." Ecologist, poet and cancer survivor, Sandra Steingraber is recognized internationally as an expert on environmental links to cancer. Her highly acclaimed book, "Living Downstream: An Ecologist Looks at Cancer and the Environment," is a personal and scientific exploration of how toxic chemicals contribute to rising cancer rates in various communities, and won her praise as "the new Rachel Carson." Steingraber offers insights into green architecture, campus sustainability, and the future of food in a world short of oil.

  • Created 19 January 2007; Published 22 January 2007
    Convocation: Randall Kennedy

    "Race Lines in American Life." Randall Kennedy is professor at Harvard Law School and one of the country's most compelling and bold commentators on race in America. Kennedy's work exploded into popular consciousness with the publication of his book "Nigger: The Strange Career of a Troublesome Word." This book became an instant national bestseller and brought Kennedy coverage in the pages of The New York Times, Time, Newsweek, and a cover story in the New York Times Book Review. With the publication of his most recent book, "Interracial Intimacies: Sex, Marriage, Identity, and Adoption" Kennedy has cemented his place as America's most thoughtful and original thinker and writer on racial issues. Combining scholarly rigor and popular appeal Kennedy has become the leading voice of a new generation of academics asking new questions and finding new answers about racial issues.

  • Created 12 January 2007; Published 22 January 2007
    Convocation: James Loewen '64

    "History I Never Learned at Carleton - And Why It Matters." Award-winning author and researcher James Loewen '64 shows how the most commonly used history textbooks omit important events, distort others, and bore everyone. His most recent book "Sundown Towns" explores how African-Americans and other minorities were excluded from thousands of towns across the country. "Lies Across America" shows how monuments, museums and other historical landmarks have actually confused the facts about America's history.

  • Created 5 January 2007; Published 22 January 2007
    Convocation: Anne Fadiman

    "The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: A Hmong Child, Her American Doctors, and the Collision of Two Cultures." Anne Fadiman's book, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award, traces the dramatic conflicts that arose between a refugee family from Laos and their American doctors over the care of their seriously ill child. In her lecture, Fadiman will trace the cross-cultural challenges she faced during her eight years of immersion in Hmong culture.

  • Created 3 November 2006; Published 7 November 2006
    Convocation: John Trudell

    John Trudell is an acclaimed poet, national recording artist, actor and activist whose international following reflects the universal language of his words, work and message. Trudell (Santee Sioux) was a spokesperson for the Indian of All Tribes occupation of Alcatraz Island from 1969 to 1971. He then worked with the American Indian Movement (AIM), serving as Chairman of AIM from 1973 to 1979. In February of 1979, a fire of unknown origin killed Trudell's wife, three children and mother-in-law. It was through this horrific tragedy that Trudell began to find his voice as an artist and poet, writing, in his words, "to stay connected to this reality." In addition to his music and literary career, Trudell has played roles in a number of feature films.

  • Created 27 October 2006; Published 31 October 2006
    Convocation: David Hemenway

    "Private Guns, Public Health." Professor of Health Policy at the Harvard School of Public Health, David Hemenway also serves as the director of the Harvard Injury Control Research Center and the Harvard Youth Violence Prevention Center. The injury center is the coordinating center for the National Violent Injury Statistics System whose goal is to help improve available data on suicide and homicide. In the United States, almost 80 people per day are killed with guns. Yet comparatively little research has been directed toward understanding and reducing gun injuries. Hemenway is studying the effects of gun carrying; how guns are stored and whether training can improve storage practices; the external costs and benefits of gun ownership; the use of guns in self-defense; gun use among adolescents; guns on college campuses; the relationship between gun prevalence and homicide, suicide and unintentional gun deaths; and the effects of changes in the legal drinking age on youth violence. His book "Private Guns, Public Health" demonstrates how research findings on gun accidents, suicides, and crimes can, in a thoughtful and apolitical way, illuminate a significant social issue.

  • Created 13 October 2006; Published 19 October 2006
    Convocation: Joseph Shapiro '75

    "Make What's Important Interesting, Instead of What's Interesting Important: An NPR Correspondent's Thoughts about Soldiers Back from Iraq, Hurricane Katrina and Other Recent Stories." National Public Radio correspondent Joseph Shapiro '75 covers health, aging, disability, and children and family issues. Before joining NPR in 2001, Shapiro spent 19 years at U.S. News & World Report, where he wrote about a variety of social policy issues and also served as the magazine's Rome bureau chief, White House correspondent, and congressional reporter. At NPR he has reported on stories related to disabilities among soldiers serving in and returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. He also filed reports from the New Orleans airport as people with disabilities were evacuated in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, some of them forced to leave wheelchairs and other essential devices behind. An award winning journalist, he is also the author of "No Pity: People with Disabilities Forging a New Civil Rights Movement."

  • Created 6 October 2006; Published 12 February 2009
    Convocation: Anne Fausto-Sterling

    "Born and Raised: Human Sexuality and the Nature/Nurture Debate." Molecular biologist Anne Fausto-Sterling has a unique ability to explain complex biological and sociological topics to the general public, as evidenced by the popularity of her book, "Myths of Gender: Biological Theories About Women and Men." Professor of biology and women's studies at Brown University, Fausto-Sterling is one of the leading theorists on science, sexuality, and gender. She has authored scientific publications in developmental genetics and developmental ecology, and has achieved recognition for works that challenge entrenched scientific beliefs while engaging with the general public.

  • Created 29 September 2006; Published 5 October 2006
    Convocation: Aparna Ramaswamy '97

    Aparna Ramaswamy '97 serves as artistic director, choreographer, and principal dancer with Ragamala Music and Dance Theater. Founded in 1992 by her mother Ranee Ramaswamy, Ragamala is dedicated to preserving the South Indian classical dance form of Bharatanatyam while using it as a springboard for innovative choreography. Their work has been presented in prestigious venues throughout the world. Aparna has been performing both nationally and internationally from a very young age and has been awarded several honors, including a McKnight Artist Fellowship for Dancers, a McKnight Artist Fellowship for Choreography, a Bush Fellowship for Choreography, an Arts and Religion in the Twin Cities grant, funded by the Rockefeller Foundation, two Jerome Foundation Travel Study Grants, and an Artist Exploration Fund Grant from Arts International (New York). In 2004, Aparna's choreography was commissioned by Walker Art Center and the Southern Theater (Minneapolis, Minnesota) for their series Momentum: New Dance Works. In 2005, she was the recipient of the Lakshmi Vishwanathan Endowment Prize from Sri Krishna Gana Sabha (Chennai, India).

  • Created 22 September 2006; Published 3 October 2006
    Convocation: Paula Crisostomo

    "Walkout: The True Story of a Defining Moment in Chicano History." As a high school student, Paula Crisostomo stepped into the spotlight of the Chicano struggle for equality and the fight against racism. Appalled at the deplorable quality of the education she was receiving, Paula led the largest high school student protest in this country's history. In early March, 1968, Chicano students from five East Los Angeles high schools walked out of their classes as a direct protest against the sub-standard quality of their education. Not only was it the first time Chicano students walked out, but it was also the first major mass protest against racism ever undertaken by Mexican-Americans. A week and a half later, more than 20,000 students had participated in East Los Angeles and in sympathy walkouts at other high schools across the city. This story has been made into an HBO movie, "Walk Out," which premiered in March of 2006. Directed by Edward James Olmos and starring Alexa Vega as Paula, the movie tells the story of a piece of history that has become a seminal point in the struggle for educational equity in the Chicano community. Paula's courage and leadership in this historic event has been documented in numerous books and she is featured in the PBS documentary "Chicano!: Taking Back the Schools." Today, Paula Crisostomo is the Director of Government and Community Relations for Occidental College in Los Angeles. She provides leadership and direction for the college's community outreach strategies, including neighborhood relations, local and federally sponsored services programs in education and local and state government relations.

  • Created 11 September 2006; Published 18 September 2006
    Opening Convocation: Mary Easter

    Carleton College’s opening convocation for the 2006-07 school year was given by Mary Easter, Rae Schupack Nathan Professor of Dance and the Performing Arts, on Monday, September 11 at 3 p.m. in Skinner Memorial Chapel. Her presentation, which included some dance, centered on challenging the status quo and was titled “Knocking Over the Chair.”

    A poet and writer as well as a dancer and choreographer, Easter received a bachelor of arts degree in music and French in 1962 from Sarah Lawrence College and studied at the Eastman School of Music. She is also the recipient of a master's degree in music for dancers from Goddard College. She has presented her dance work in Minnesota and nationally for more than 25 years, receiving a Bush Artist Fellowship in Choreography, a Minnesota Dance Alliance McKnight Fellowship, a Diverse Visions Video award from Intermedia Arts, and a McKnight Artist Fellowship for Interdisciplinary Artists. She also has served as director of Carleton’s African-American studies program.

  • Created 26 May 2006; Published 30 May 2006
    Honors Convocation: Robert Tisdale

    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 will be delivered by Robert Tisdale, Marjorie Crabb Garbisch Professor of English and the Liberal Arts. Tisdale earned his B.A. in philosophy from Princeton University, his M.A.T. (teaching) from Wesleyan University and his Ph.D. in English from Yale University. He joined the Carleton faculty in 1966 and has taught a wide range of courses in English and American literature, writing and American studies. Through his courses, Tisdale teaches his students a bit more about a different culture and a different way of thinking, and implicitly, more about American culture. He emphasizes the importance of social change, and the ability of people to evoke change in society. He is a published poet. Tisdale has held numerous leadership positions at Carleton, including department chair, director of American studies, associate dean of the college and acting dean of the college. He has led off-campus studies programs in London and Ireland, and he taught in Carleton’s Institute for Teachers of Talented Students for many years. Professor Tisdale's address is titled "Doors into the Dark."

  • Created 19 May 2006; Published 22 May 2006
    Convocation: Ray Suarez

    Ray Suarez has more than twenty-five years of varied experience in the news business, covering such issues as immigration, education, and the relationship of religion in politics. As a Washington-based senior correspondent for the PBS program "The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer," he is responsible for conducting newsmaker interviews, studio discussion and debates, reporting from the field and serving as a backup anchor. He came to "The NewsHour" from National Public Radio where he had been host of the nationwide call-in news program "Talk of the Nation." He also currently serves as host for American RadioWorks, the documentary unit of American Public Media ( The title of his presentation is "The Holy Vote: The Politics of Faith in America."

  • Created 12 May 2006; Published 15 May 2006
    Convocation: Eric Schlosser

    Author of the national bestsellers, "Fast Food Nation" and "Reefer Madness," Eric Schlosser investigates hidden realms of American business and culture and their far-reaching effects on our lives. He challenges people to think about critical and often overlooked issues, including food safety, workers' rights, the war on drugs, our prison system, and marketing to children. In "Fast Food Nation," Schlosser uncovers the inner workings of the fast food industry, from the appalling working conditions in American meat-packing plants to the "flavor industry" along the New Jersey Turnpike that gives fast food its taste. Depicting the tremendous growth and success of the industry, Schlosser reveals how fast food has been a revolutionary force in American life, transforming our diet as well as our economy, workforce and popular culture. The title of his presentation is "Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal."

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