Recordings of Convocations

  • Created 20 February 2009; Published 2 March 2009
    Convocation: David Quammen

    David Quammen is a science journalist and nonfiction author. He travels on assignment for various magazines, usually to jungles, deserts, or swamps, and his accustomed beat is the world of field biology, ecology, evolutionary biology, and conservation. He currently holds the positions of Contributing Writer for National Geographic Magazine and Wallace Stegner Professor of Western American Studies at Montana State University. In his book The Reluctant Mr. Darwin, Quammen focuses careful attention on Charles Darwin, father of modern biology and source of an idea so radical its implications are still only imperfectly understood: evolution by natural selection. Quammen tracks the naturalist's life through the two decades following his epiphany that "natural selection" formed the basis of evolution, a time during which Darwin kept his explosive idea under wraps and pondered when and how to release it to the world. Commemorating the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin, Quammen’s presentation was titled "Charles Darwin Against Himself: Caution versus Honesty in the Life of a Reluctant Revolutionary."

  • Created 13 February 2009; Published 18 February 2009
    Convocation: Tyrone Hayes

    Tyrone Hayes is a biologist and herpetologist who knows that scientific breakthroughs don’t begin and end in the laboratory. They also come from the field. Which is why, more often than not, Hayes can be found wet, muddy, and knee-deep in a swamp at 2 a.m., the time when the frogs come out. Associate professor of integrative biology at the University of California, Berkeley, Hayes’ primary research focuses on the role of environmental factors on growth and development in amphibians. His studies have revealed how synthetic chemicals (such as the pesticide atrazine which is frequently used in Minnesota) interact with hormones in a variety of ways to alter developmental responses. As these studies also help predict effects in other wildlife and humans, Hayes’ findings reveal a crucial new link between conservation and health. The title of his presentation was "From Silent Spring to Silent Night: A Tale of Toads and Men".

  • Created 6 February 2009; Published 13 February 2009
    Convocation: Mark Anthony Neal

    Mark Anthony Neal jokes that if you "Google" the term "black male feminist," his name will invariably show up near the top of the search results. His work, and life, are dedicated to challenging sexism and misogyny. Professor of Black Popular Culture in the Department of African and African-American Studies at Duke University, Neal teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in black popular culture, black masculinity and hip hop aesthetics. A nationally recognized scholar, Neal has been examining issues of race, gender and sexuality for more than a decade. His book Soul Babies examines black popular culture since the end of the civil rights movement. Two of his books, What the Music Said and Songs in the Key of Black Life, examine the ties between black music and culture in the post-civil rights movement. The title of his presentation was "Barack Obama and the Era of the New Black Man."

  • Created 30 January 2009; Published 10 February 2009
    Convocation: David McMillen

    David McMillen is the External Affairs Liaison with the National Archives and Records Administration, where he is also Director of Congressional Relations. He has advised members of Congress on a broad range of information policy issues including the Freedom of Information Act, the Paperwork Reduction Act, the Presidential Records Act, the Privacy Act, the confidentiality of information collected by the government on individuals and businesses, and the laws governing the operation of the National Archives and Records Administration. McMillen previously worked at the U.S. Census Bureau, and has a flair for making the imperative of the Census accessible and engaging. He has a current and historical perspective on how the Census has functioned as an orderly revolution in the distribution of power. The upcoming Census will again be a hot issue, as it will be outrageously expensive to conduct, and the political ownership and status of subgroup populations will continue to be contested. The title of his presentation was "Revolution is in the Air: The American Census."

  • Created 23 January 2009; Published 10 February 2009
    Convocation: Doug Blackmon

    Doug Blackmon is the Wall Street Journal’s bureau chief in Atlanta. Over the past 20 years, he has written extensively about the American quandary of race, exploring the integration of schools during his childhood in a Mississippi Delta farm town, lost episodes of the Civil Rights movement, and, repeatedly, the dilemma of how a contemporary society should grapple with a troubled past. Many of his stories in The Wall Street Journal have explored the interplay of wealth, corporate conduct and racial segregation. In 2001, he revealed how U.S. Steel Corp. relied on forced black laborers in Alabama coal mines in the early 20th century. The article led to his first book, Slavery By Another Name, which broadly examines how a form of neoslavery thrived in the U.S. long after legal abolition. The title of his presentation was "A Persistent Past: Reckoning with Our Troubled Racial History in the Age of Obama."

  • Created 16 January 2009; Published 21 January 2009
    Convocation: Melissa Harris-Lacewell

    Melissa Harris-Lacewell is Associate Professor of Politics and African American Studies at Princeton University. She is the author of the award-winning book Barbershops, Bibles, and BET: Everyday Talk and Black Political Thought. She is currently at work on a new book, Sista Citizen: For Colored Girls Who've Considered Politics When Being Strong Wasn't Enough. Her academic research is inspired by a desire to investigate the challenges facing contemporary black Americans and to better understand the multiple, creative ways that African Americans respond to these challenges. Her creative and dynamic teaching is also motivated by the practical political and racial issues of our time; for example, exploring the multiple political meanings of Hurricane Katrina. She has taught students from grade school to graduate school and has been recognized for her commitment to the classroom as a site of democratic deliberation on race. On the occasion of the celebration of the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the title of her presentation was "King in the Age of Obama."

  • Created 9 January 2009; Published 21 January 2009
    Convocation: Gary Telgenhoff

    Gary Telgenhoff is a forensic pathologist and consultant for the hit television drama "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation." As the Deputy Medical Examiner at the Clark County Coroner's Office in Las Vegas, Nevada, Telgenhoff sees approximately one thousand bodies a year, 450 of which he autopsies. His presence is often required in court with regard to his findings and determination of cause and manner of death. "CSI" has brought crime scenes into America's living room and has sparked a wave of interest in forensic science as a career. Telgenhoff uses science, experience, and his own macabre sense of humor to explain how he speaks for the deceased in trying to solve their demise. The title of his presentation was "Speak for You: Telling the Tales the Dead Can't Tell."

  • Created 7 November 2008; Published 11 November 2008
    Convocation: Enrique Morones

    Enrique Morones is the founder of Border Angels, a non-profit humanitarian organization that provides support and relief to migrant workers on the United States-Mexico border. A high percentage of deaths among migrants have been the results of extreme heat and cold weather conditions in the Imperial Valley desert areas and the mountain areas surrounding San Diego County, as well as the areas located around the United States and Mexican border. Border Angels is an all-volunteer group that places food, water and other provisions on the border areas to help save migrant lives. Morones’ presentation was titled "The Human Side of the Story: People Behind the Immigration Policy Debates."

  • Created 31 October 2008; Published 11 November 2008
    Convocation: Charlene Teters

    Charlene Teters is a Native American artist, teacher, writer and activist. Her paintings and art installations have been featured in over 21 major exhibitions, commissions, and collections. As an internationally recognized artist, Teters expresses her personal and political views about America's dehumanization of Indian Peoples by creating multimedia installations that examine the social presumptions and portrayals of Indian people in pop culture and media. For the past two decades, Teters has been active in opposing the use of Native American mascots and other imagery in sports, and is a founding board member of the National Coalition on Racism in Sports and the Media. Teters delivered the Native American Heritage Convocation to help us celebrate and reflect on the legacies and the richness of Native American communities and individuals. Sponsored by the Office of Intercultural Life, the title of the presentation was "If Not You, Then Who?"

  • Created 24 October 2008; Published 11 November 2008
    Convocation: Scott Olson

    Scott Olson is known worldwide as the man who invented, named and marketed Rollerblades, praised by Time magazine as one of the 100 coolest products of the 20th century, alongside computers, cell phones and Post-it notes. The success of slapping four roller skate wheels down the middle of an ice skate was only the beginning for Scott; after growing bored with rowing on a stationary rowing machine in an indoor gym, Scott thought: "Why can’t I put this thing on wheels and go outside?" And his next successful invention, Rowbike, was born. Scott has gone on to invent and market many products, including Antarctic Lawn Penguins, Lunar Bed, Kong Pong and his biggest endeavor yet: a cross between cycling, riding a roller coaster and human-powered flight known simply as Sky Bike. With the same passion and excitement it took to create his inventions, Scott shared his exciting entrepreneurial journey and the keys to his success in his convocation address: "Fit Innovation: Exercise Your Entrepreneurial Spirit."

  • Created 17 October 2008; Published 23 October 2008
    Convocation: Rafael Campo

    Rafael Campo is a Cuban-American medical doctor who teaches and practices general internal medicine at Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. He has also received wide critical acclaim as an author and poet. This hybrid of physician and poet, referring to himself as a healer, is interested in the ways in which voice and narrative can explicate the experience of human suffering, which is reflected in his book "The Healing Art: A Doctor's Black Bag of Poetry." Poetry has the power to heal, and he argues for physicians to adopt a practice of integrative medicine, one in which the demands of the mind and soul are understood to play as important a part as those of the body. Rafael Campo delivered the Latino/a Heritage Convocation to help us celebrate and reflect on the legacies and the richness of Latino/Latina communities and individuals.

  • Created 10 October 2008; Published 23 October 2008
    Convocation: Joseph Melrose

    Joseph Melrose, who served three decades in the Foreign Service, is the former U.S. Ambassador to Sierra Leone, where he helped broker a peace treaty. After leaving Sierra Leone in 2001, he was Task Force Coordinator for the post-September 11 task force with the Department of State, and later was a Senior Consultant on Counterterrorism for the Office of the Secretary of State’s Coordinator for Counterterrorism. He has also served as a senior advisor to the U.S. Delegation to the United Nations General Assembly for the State Department. As the president of the National Model United Nations board of directors, he oversees programs for more than 3,400 student delegates. Examining the legacy of former Minnesota Governor Harold Stassen, one of the signers of the United Nations charter, Melrose's presentation was titled "US Role in the UN: From Stassen to the 21st Century."

  • Created 3 October 2008; Published 23 October 2008
    Convocation: Paul Anderson

    Paul Anderson has served as an Associate Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court since 1994, where he has earned respect for his hard work and superb legal decision-making. Previously, he was Chief Judge of the Minnesota Court of Appeals (1992-1994). The author of many important decisions, including the leading case on bail, Justice Anderson has been a leader on improving racial fairness in Minnesota’s justice system. As a strong advocate for an impartial, nonpartisan judiciary, Justice Anderson believes it is critical that we keep partisan politics out of the courtroom. He reaches out to communities across the state, explaining our court system, inspiring public service, and promoting public confidence in our judicial system. Focusing on the freedoms that have permitted our nation to flourish and the judiciary’s role in protecting those freedoms, Anderson’s presentation was titled "Freedom is NOT Just Another Word for Nothing Left to Lose."

  • Created 26 September 2008; Published 17 October 2008
    Convocation: James Watson

    James Watson, professor of anthropology at Harvard University, is an ethnographer who has spent over 30 years working in south China, primarily in villages. His research has focused on Chinese emigrants to London, ancestor worship and popular religion, family life and village organization, food systems, and the emergence of a post-socialist culture in the People's Republic of China. In recent years Professor Watson has worked with graduate students in Harvard’s Department of Anthropology to investigate the impact of transnational food industries and genetically modified food in East Asia, Europe, and Russia. Focusing on changing patterns of food consumption and provisioning in south China and exploring transformations that have occurred in the Chinese family during the past century, Watson's presentation was titled "A Cultural Biography Of Meat (In South China): Globalization, Modernization, and Family Transformations."

  • Created 15 September 2008; Published 17 October 2008
    Opening Convocation: Deborah Bial

    Deborah Bial, president and founder of The Posse Foundation, was the featured speaker at Carleton’s opening convocation for the 2008-09 school year, with an address titled “Make It Happen: The Importance of Transformative Leadership.” The Posse Foundation is a youth leadership development and college access program that identifies, recruits, and trains youth leaders from urban public high schools and sends these groups as teams, or “posses,” to top colleges and universities around the country.

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