Recordings of Convocations

  • Created 18 April 2008; Published 2 May 2008
    Convocation: Gao Hong and Friends
    World-renowned Chinese pipa player, composer, and Carleton faculty member Gao Hong, along with musicians from from India, Japan and China, presented a special convocation titled “Asian Fusion: A Celebration of Diversity.” Sitarist Shubhendra Rao, a leading disciple of Ravi Shankar, taiko drum master Kenny Endo, and Indian veena player and vocalist Nirmala Rajasekar joined Gao for a rousing cross-cultural presentation in Carleton’s Concert Hall. The convocation performance focused on the work of each individual artist, emphasizing their different cultural backgrounds and musical customs as well as the collaborative process in which the musicians came together in concert that fused these varying traditions.
  • Created 11 April 2008; Published 18 April 2008
    Convocation: Jane Hamilton ’79

    “This, you see, is how it is in the culture at large now: the drool of a baby who has been on TV is more compelling than a writer of smutty thrillers,” said novelist Jane Hamilton in her humorous and thought-provoking convocation address, titled “Slouching Toward Television: A Novelist's Foray into the Realm of TV.” In reflecting on her early inspiration for writing novels, Hamilton says she overheard a professor say she would write a novel one day. Although she had only written two short stories for the professor's class, overhearing the conversation gave her a measure of confidence. Her first novel, The Book of Ruth, won the PEN/Ernest Hemingway Foundation Award for best first novel and was a selection of the Oprah Book Club. Her second novel, A Map of the World, was an international bestseller, adapted for film, and was also an Oprah's Book Club selection. Her third novel, The Short History of a Prince, received the Publishers Weekly Best Book award. Hamilton lives, works, and writes in an orchard farmhouse in Wisconsin.

  • Created 4 April 2008; Published 14 April 2008
    Convocation: Irshad Manji

    The New York Times has dubbed Irshad Manji "Osama Bin Laden's worst nightmare." She takes that as a compliment. Manji is the best-selling author of "The Trouble with Islam Today: A Muslim’s Call for Reform in Her Faith," which has been published internationally, including in Pakistan, Turkey, India and Lebanon. She also travels the globe to lecture about the liberal reformation of Islam. Currently, Manji is a Senior Fellow with the European Foundation for Democracy. She writes columns that are distributed worldwide by the New York Times Syndicate and is also making a feature film about Islam that will showcase ideas such as "ijtihad," Islam's lost tradition of independent thinking. The title of her convocation address was "The Future of Islam: A Muslim's Call for Reform in Her Faith."

    At the request of the presenter, this convocation presentation is not available. For more information about Irshad Manji's presentations and projects, see her website

  • Created 22 February 2008; Published 28 February 2008
    Convocation: Edith Widder

    Edith Widder is a biologist, deep-sea explorer, and specialist in bioluminescence (the light chemically produced by many ocean organisms). Her convocation address on “New Technologies to Discover Our World,” combined her expertise in deep-sea research and technological innovation with her commitment to reversing the worldwide trend of degradation to the world's marine environments. In 2005, Widder co-founded the Ocean Research Conservation Association (ORCA), which strives to develop high-tech sensory equipment to evaluate the health and preservation of marine ecosystems. “We are destroying the oceans faster than we can discover what’s in them,” she warns. “A lot of people are totally unaware of what’s going on in our oceans. We need to educate them to avert a crisis, and I’d like to be part of the solution.”

  • Created 15 February 2008; Published 25 February 2008
    Convocation: Josh Meltzer ’95

    Staff photographer with The Roanoke Times, Josh Meltzer ’95 is an award-winning photojournalist who in 2006 won the National Press Photographers Association Photojournalist of the Year award. His photographs are intimate, compassionate portraits that tell the stories of the people they feature. Covering a wide array of subjects, his work captures raw emotion and real human expression, helping viewers to understand complicated issues. Meltzer is passionate about the potential for great community journalism and credits his liberal arts education at Carleton with giving him an edge. "You learn how to learn, to study, to research, to write. And you get a good background in religion, politics, culture. You need to learn about the people you’re photographing and figure out how to tell a story with a camera." The title of his presentation was "Visual Storytelling."

  • Created 8 February 2008; Published 15 February 2008
    Convocation: J. Drake Hamilton

    J. Drake Hamilton, a leader in climate change policymaking and education, present a convocation address titled “Global Warming Solutions and Economic Opportunities.” Hamilton serves as the Science Policy Director for Fresh Energy, a St. Paul-based non-profit organization working to establish energy independence. She is known for her ability to communicate global warming solutions, and for bringing integrity, environmental stewardship, and a courageous passion for progress to her work. Fresh Energy's efforts focus on clean energy, energy efficiency, transportation policy, global warming solutions and energy justice. In an effort to promote a modern, innovative energy system for the 21st century, the organization provides research, advocacy and innovative policy models while engaging citizens to take action on the energy issues.

  • Created 1 February 2008; Published 4 February 2008
    Convocation: Freeman Hrabowski

    At age 13, Freeman Hrabowski was arrested for participating in the children’s crusade to protest the jailing of Martin Luther King Jr. In college, he was the only black student at the University of Illinois. He went on to earn a PhD, co-author two books, become president of a university, and appear in a Spike Lee film. Currently the president of University of Maryland, Baltimore County and an authority on minority participation and performance in science and math education, Hrabowski's convocation address was titled “Leadership and the Role of Liberal Arts Colleges in Promoting High Achievement among Minorities.”

  • Created 25 January 2008; Published 4 February 2008
    Convocation: Robert McLaughlin
    Robert McLaughlin served a seven year prison sentence for a 1979 murder he did not commit. He was convicted based solely on the testimony of a 15-year-old eyewitness, despite a complete lack of physical evidence and a solid alibi backed up by four others. McLaughlin is not alone in his exoneration following unjust imprisonment. Over 200 people, at least ten of whom were on death row, have been exonerated in recent years. Since his release, McLaughlin has been outspoken about his experience, and now serves on the board of the Innocence Project of Minnesota (IPMN) as an advocate for others who remain in prison following false conviction. IPMN provides investigative and legal assistance to inmates, promotes substantive legal reforms to prevent future wrongful convictions, and works to raise public awareness about the prevalence and causes of wrongful conviction.
  • Created 18 January 2008; Published 28 January 2008
    Convocation: Judy Richardson

    Documentary filmmaker and Civil Rights activist Judy Richardson was the educational director behind the acclaimed PBS documentary film series “Eyes on the Prize.” Winner of the Peabody Award as well as several Emmys, the series presented a stunning picture of the fight to end segregation in America. Lauded by critics, historians and educators, the series combined archival footage and contemporary interviews with participants (including Richardson) in the struggle for and against Civil Rights, presenting a multi-faceted portrait of the movement. Richardson has spent a lifetime fighting for social justice and remains one of the most informative and moving voices on the African-American experience. The title of her presentation was "Will the Circle Be Unbroken: Lessons of the Civil Rights Movement."

  • Created 11 January 2008; Published 15 January 2008
    Convocation: Mark Seeley

    Mark Seeley is a professor in the Department of Soil, Water, and Climate at the University of Minnesota, where he has worked since 1978. He has done weekly commentary for Minnesota Public Radio since 1992. His extension educational programs relate weather/climate impacts to Minnesota agriculture, transportation, energy, tourism, and natural resources, and he has received several awards for his work with the deployment of living snow fences. Seeley edited a successful series of children's books called the Amazing Science Series and recently authored The Minnesota Weather Almanac, a 200-year history of Minnesota weather. The title of his presentation was "Climate Change in Minnesota: Evidence and Implications."

  • Created 4 January 2008; Published 15 January 2008
    Convocation: Jane Brody

    New York Times personal health columnist and best-selling author Jane Brody helped the Carleton community kick start their new year's resolutions with a special convocation address titled "Taking Charge of Your Health." Brody's widely read and quoted column, which appears in The Times' Science Times section and in scores of other newspapers around the country, earned her the title of "High Priestess of Health" from Time Magazine. She is also the author of several best-selling books, has written countless magazine articles and is a frequent lecturer on health and nutrition topics.

  • Created 2 November 2007; Published 8 November 2007
    Convocation: Ada E. Deer

    Native American advocate and scholar, Ada E. Deer recently retired as the director of the American Indian Studies program at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. She is a member of the Menominee tribe and was the first member of her tribe to receive a master's degree. She also became the first woman chair of the Menominee Nation and the first woman to head the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs in the U.S. Department of Interior, where she helped set federal policy for more than 555 American Indian tribes nationwide. The title of her presentation was "Advocacy, Activism, and Action: Your Agenda for Tomorrow."

  • Created 26 October 2007; Published 1 November 2007
    Convocation: Steve Grove

    Head of News and Politics at YouTube, former Carleton student Steve Grove helped launch "You Choose '08," designed to educate, empower, and connect voters and presidential candidates through the power of online video. Millions of people have checked out the candidates' YouTube Channels, and thousands have communicated directly with those running for President via ratings, comments and video responses. Going one step further in leveling the political playing field was the CNN/YouTube debates where, for the first time in history, questions in a primary debate came straight from YouTube videos. The title of Grove's convocation address was "YouTube Politics: How the Internet is Changing Democracy."

  • Created 19 October 2007; Published 29 October 2007
    Convocation: Gillian Sorensen

    "We as a country are perceived by the rest of the world as a changed or diminished nation...if we wish to regain our reputation, to reassert responsible leadership and to earn trust, respect, and credibility, the question is: What do we do?" So begins the convocation address by Gillian Sorensen, Senior Advisor at the United Nations Foundation. A national advocate on matters related to the United Nations and the U.S. – U.N. relationship, Sorensen previously served as Assistant Secretary-General to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and as Special Advisor for Public Policy to Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali. The title of her address was "US and UN: Can this Marriage be Saved?"

  • Created 12 October 2007; Published 22 October 2007
    Convocation: David Wilson

    David Wilson is the founding director of California's enigmatic Museum of Jurassic Technology. The museum itself is a work of conceptual art, and its catalog includes a mixture of artistic and scientific exhibits that evokes the cabinets of curiosities that were the 18th century predecessors of modern natural history museums. Wilson's convocation address, titled "The Eye of the Needle," focused on an appreciation of human artistry and ingenuity on a microscopic scale, including an artist who carved a likeness of Pope John Paul II from a single strand of human hair and placed it within the eye of a needle.

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