The Vernon L. Pack Distinguished Lecture and Scholar in Residence program was established in 2002 through a generous gift from alumnus Vernon L. Pack, a 1950 graduate of the University. A distinguished lecturer visits campus to address important current issues that will allow the Otterbein community to reflect on ethical, spiritual and social issues. In alternate years, an esteemed scholar is invited to campus to reside for up to one academic year in order to provide an educational enrichment experience for Otterbein students.
2017 Vernon L. Pack Distinguished Lecturer: Bryonn Bain
The Vernon L. Pack Distinguished Lecture Series at Otterbein University is proud to welcome Bryonn Bain for a lecture, Life After Lockdown: The Abolition of the Punishment Paradigm, at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, April 12, in the Fritsche Theatre at Cowan Hall, 30 S. Grove St., Westerville. Bain is an assistant professor in residence in the Department of African American Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles. A native of Brooklyn, he is a prison reform activist, actor, author, hip hop theater innovator and spoken word poetry champion.
Described by Cornel West as an artist who “…speaks his truth with a power we desperately need to hear,” Bain has reached over 20 million viewers through his interview with Mike Wallace on “60 Minutes” and his award winning work as a BET host for the critically acclaimed weekly talk show “My Two Cents.”
Bringing the arts and education into prisons for over 25 years, Bain’s poetry and music are available on the LIFE AFTER LOCKDOWN Mixtape, executive produced by the legendary founder of Hip Hop, DJ Kool Herc. Ever evolving, LYRICS FROM LOCKDOWN has sold out on three continents worldwide.
Bain is the author of three books. His essays in THE UGLY SIDE OF BEAUTIFUL: Rethinking Race and Prisons are published by Third World Press with foreword by Mumia Abu Jamal and introduction by Lani Guinier. His poetry is available in THE PROPHET RETURNS, a hip hop generation remix of Kahlil Gibran’s classic The Prophet, and FISH & BREAD/PESCADO Y PAN, a bilingual children’s book illustrated by his son and godson (Brown Girl Books).
After teaching in the Dramatic Arts at Harvard University, Bain founded the prison education program at New York University (NYU). He then brought the courses he developed on hip hop, spoken word and the prison crisis at Boys Town Detention Center, Rikers Island, NYU, Long Island University, Columbia University and The New School to UCLA. At UCLA, he is developing a Prison Education Program and Center for Justice offering higher education at the California Institute for Women (CIW) correctional facility, the oldest women’s prison in California. He is also working with inmates at the Barry J. Nidorf Juvenile Hall. In March, Bain will star in a hip hop theater/spoken word remix of The Wiz, adapted by women incarcerated at CIW prison and titled WHAT IT IZ: The Spoken Wordical.
Watch last year's lecture by award-winning journalist Amy Goodman,
Role of Independent Media in Promoting Social Change, Peace and Justice.