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Vernon L. Pack Distinguished Lecture Series

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.

The lecture is free and open to the public. Free tickets are available to the campus community and alumni beginning March 8 and to the general public beginning March 29 at the Cowan Hall box office. The box office is open from 12-4 p.m. Monday through Friday and can be reached at 614-823-1109.

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.

Previous Lectures

  • 2002 - Doris Kerns Goodwin, acclaimed historian and Pulitzer Prize in history winner for No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II.

  • 2004 - Fareed Zakaria, editor of Newsweek International and host of CNN's international affairs program Fareed Zakaria GPS.

  • 2005 - Alan Lightman, noted physicist and critically acclaimed author of Einstein's Dreams.

  • 2008 - Ed Begley, Jr., actor and environmentalist.

  • 2010 – Dee Dee Myers, White House press secretary under President Clinton from 1993-1994, political analyst and commentator, and author of Why Women Should Rule the World. Myers is an expert on the issues facing women in Washington and in leadership positions of all kinds.

  • 2012 – Dr. Steven Pinker, Harvard University professor, best-selling author and Pulitzer Prize finalist. He has been listed on TIME magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in The World” and Foreign Policy magazine's list of “The World’s Top 100 Public Intellectuals.”

  • 2014 - Sir Salman Rushdie, one of the most celebrated authors of our time. He penned a handful of classic novels, influenced a generation of writers, and received a Queen’s Knighthood for “services to literature.” He stands as both a pop culture icon and one of the most thought-provoking proponents for free speech today. His novels include Midnight's Children, The Satanic VersesThe Moor's Last SighThe Ground Beneath Her Feet and The Enchantress of Florence.
  • 2016 - Amy Goodman, award-winning investigative journalist, author, and syndicated columnist. She is the host of Democracy Now!, airing on more than 1400 public television and radio stations worldwide.

Distinguished Scholars in Residence

  • 2003 - Dr. Valentine Moghadam, a professor born in Iran, who conducts research regarding development, social change, and gender in the Middle East, North Africa, and Afghanistan.

  • 2005- Lois Raimondo, an internationally-known photojournalist and Pulitzer Prize finalist nominee for her work on the New York City Mitchell Lama housing project for New York Newsday.

  • 2007 - Wande Abimbola, President of the International Congress of Orisa Tradition and Culture, and world-renowned expert on Ifa, a West African sacred divinatory and literary system.

  • 2009 - Dr. Richard Alley, an acclaimed geologist who conducts research on environmental issues including abrupt climate changes, glaciers, ice sheet collapse and sea level change. 

  • 2011 - Harrell Fletcher, renowned visual and conceptual artist and recipient of the 2005 Alpert Award in Visual Arts.

  • 2013 - Dr. Robert Fefferman, acclaimed mathematician in the field of harmonic analysis and its applications to elliptic partial differential equations and its relationship to probability theory. 

  • 2015 – Bonny Norton, Professor and Distinguished University Scholar in the Department of Language and Literacy Education at the University of British Columbia, Her highly cited book, Identity and Language Learning (2000/2013) has introduced novel conceptions of identity to the field of language education

/ Office of Academic Affairs

The Office of Academic Affairs is located in Roush Hall, 27 S. Grove St.

Office Hours

M-F: 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.


p / 614.823.1556

Wendy Sherman Heckler
Interim Provost, Vice President for Academic Affairs
p/ 614.823.1556
e/ Email
(Contact Kristi North for appointments)

Kathryn Plank
Interim Associate VPAA and Dean of University Programs
Director, Center for Teaching and Learning 
p/ 614.823.3395
e/ Email
(Contact Kristi North for appointments)

Jeff Ankrom
Assistant Provost for Strategy and Planning
p/ 614.823.1556
e/ Email
(Contact Kristi North for appointments)

Sean McLaughlin
Director of Institutional Research
p/ 614.823.1576
e/ smclaughlin@otterbein.edu

Katherine Reichley
Academic Assessment & Accreditation Specialist
p/ 614.823.1173
e/ kreichley@otterbein.edu

Gretchen Sasfy
Executive Assistant to the Provost, Vice President for Academic Affairs
p/ 614.823.1574
e/ gsasfy@otterbein.edu

Kristi North

Administrative Assistant
p/ 614.823.1571
e/ knorth@otterbein.edu