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.

2022 Vernon L. Pack Scholar-in-Residence: Libby Larsen

The Vernon L. Pack Distinguished Lecture Series at Otterbein University is proud to present the 20th-anniversary lecture with Libby Larsen, one of America’s most performed living composers, on Wednesday, April 6, 2022, at 7 p.m. in Cowan Hall. See below for information about the concert that is part of this year’s lecture.

Libby Larsen has composed over 500 works including orchestra, opera, vocal and chamber music, symphonic winds, and band. Her work is widely recorded.

An advocate for the music and musicians of our time, in 1973 Larsen co-founded the Minnesota Composers Forum, now the American Composer’s Forum. Grammy Award winner and former holder of the Papamarkou Chair at John W. Kluge Center of the Library of Congress, Larsen has also held residencies with the Minnesota Orchestra, the Charlotte Symphony, and the Colorado Symphony. As Artistic Director of the John Duffy Institute for New Opera (2014-2020 ), she guides a faculty of practicing professional artists in nurturing and production of new opera by American Composers. Larsen’s 2017 biography, Libby Larsen: Composing an American Life, Denise Von Glahn, author, is available from the University Illinois Press.

Libby Larsen

April 4, 7:30 p.m., at the Church of the Messiah

In addition to the Lecture on Wednesday, April 6, the Department of Music will host a concert of Larsen’s works on Monday, April 4, at 7:30 p.m. at the Church of the Messiah. This special concert will be performed by Otterbein faculty and students and feature a newly commissioned work by Larsen, written especially for Otterbein’s Concert Choir. The concert and commissioned composition have been made possible by support from The Westerville Fund of The Columbus Foundation.

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 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.
  • 2020: Postposed due to Covid-19.
  • 2021: Nikole Hannah-Jones, Pulitzer Prize-winning creator of the 1619 Project and a staff writer at The New York Times Magazine, and Jonathan Kozol, author of the New York Times Bestseller, The Shame of the Nation, educator, and activist.

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.
  • 2017 – Bryonn Bain, prison reform activist, actor, author, hip hop theater innovator and spoken word poetry champion.
  • 2019 – Winona LaDuke, Native American activist, environmentalist, and former Green Party vice presidential candidate.
Towers Hall Behind Spring Leaves