The Vernon L. Pack lecture and residence program means to strengthen the ties between Otterbein and the community through research and creative work.
Vernon L. Pack Distinguished Lecture & Residence Program
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.
2021 Vernon L. Pack Distinguished Lecture: Nikole Hannah-Jones and Jonathan Kozol
The Vernon L. Pack Distinguished Lecture Series at Otterbein University is proud to present a discussion with Nikole Hannah-Jones and Jonathan Kozol, two powerful and tireless voices that have deepened our understanding of the connections between race, equity, and education. The discussion will be streamed online at 7 p.m. on Monday, April 12, 2021. This discussion was previously scheduled for spring semester 2020.
- 6:50 p.m. – Zoom link opens for Pack Lecture special video message.
- 7 p.m. – Lecture begins.
Nikole Hannah-Jones is the Pulitzer Prize-winning creator of the 1619 Project and a staff writer at The New York Times Magazine. She has spent her career investigating racial inequality and injustice, and her reporting has earned her the MacArthur Fellowship, known as the Genius grant, a Peabody Award, two George Polk Awards and the National Magazine Award three times. Hannah-Jones also earned the John Chancellor Award for Distinguished Journalism and was named Journalist of the Year by the National Association of Black Journalists and the Newswomen’s Club of New York. In 2020 she was inducted into the Society of American Historians and in 2021, into the North Carolina Media Hall of Fame. She also serves as the Knight Chair of Race and Investigative Reporting at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
In 2016, Hannah-Jones co-founded the Ida B. Wells Society for Investigative Reporting, which seeks to increase the number of reporters and editors of color. She holds a master of arts degree in mass communication from the University of North Carolina and earned her bachelor’s degree in history and African-American studies from the University of Notre Dame.
Jonathan Kozol is an author and educator whose classic works remain relevant as racial tensions that divide society and the glaring inequalities in public education have become the focus of urgent and renewed political attention.
A Rhodes Scholar, former fourth grade teacher, and a passionate advocate for child-centered learning, Kozol is one of the most widely read and highly honored education writers in the nation. He is a critic of the national obsession with standardized exams and the corporate attempt to privatize our public schools.
His first book, Death at an Early Age, a description of his first year as a teacher, received the National Book Award in Science, Philosophy, and Religion. Among his other major works are Rachel and Her Children, a study of homeless mothers and their children, which received the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award, and Savage Inequalities, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1992. His 1995 best-seller, Amazing Grace: The Lives of Children and the Conscience of a Nation, received the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award in 1996, an honor previously granted to the works of Langston Hughes and Dr. Martin Luther King.
In his New York Times Bestseller, The Shame of the Nation, a description of conditions that he found in nearly 60 public schools, Kozol wrote that inner-city children were more isolated racially than at any time since federal courts began dismantling the landmark ruling in Brown v. Board of Education.
Kozol believes that all our kids have limitless potential, but he does not believe that any school or district ought to load young children with gratuitous anxiety by telling them their value can be measured by a standardized exam.
He continues to visit children in their classrooms and to defend the dignity of hard-working and devoted teachers after more than 50 years as an educator and activist.
- 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 Verses, The Moor’s Last Sigh, The 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.
- 2018 – Piper Kerman, bestselling author of “Orange is the New Black” and criminal justice reform activist.
- 2019 – Winona LaDuke, Native American activist, environmentalist, and former Green Party vice presidential candidate
- 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.
- 2017 – Bryonn Bain, prison reform activist, actor, author, hip hop theater innovator and spoken word poetry champion.