Bestselling Author and Social Justice Activist Heather McGhee Coming to Campus April 4

Posted Mar 16, 2023

Otterbein University will host New York Times bestselling author and renowned social justice policy expert Heather McGhee for its Vernon L. Pack Distinguished Lecture Series at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 4, in Church of the Messiah, 51 N. State St., Westerville. This event is free and open to the public. Get more information and register at

Heather Mcghee
Heather Mcghee

McGhee’s relationship to Otterbein runs deeper than her visit to campus. Otterbein was the first Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation (TRHT) Campus Center in Ohio to be designated by the Association of American Colleges & Universities (AAC&U), and McGhee’s book, The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together, is being incorporated into Otterbein’s TRHT work this spring. McGhee’s mother, Gail Christopher, is the architect of the TRHT model. 

McGhee also designs and promotes solutions to inequality in America. Over her career in public policy, she has crafted legislation, testified before Congress, and helped shape presidential campaign platforms. She has worked on such issues as “debt-free college,” bringing it into the center of the 2016 presidential debate; voting rights, arguing before the Supreme Court and helping to win pro-voter reforms in five states over two years; and living wages, leading the research campaigns behind successful wage increases for low-paid workers on federal contracts, as well as at McDonalds, Walmart, and other chain retailers.  

She regularly appears on NBC’s Meet the Press and MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Deadline White House, and All In. Her 2020 TED talk is entitled Racism Has a Cost for Everyone. Her opinions, writing, and research have been published in The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Politico and NPR. McGhee’s conversation on a C-SPAN program in 2016 with a white man who asked for her help to overcome his racial prejudice went viral, receiving more than 10 million views and sparking wide media coverage that included a New York Times op-ed, a New Yorker piece, and a CNN town hall. For more information, visit  

About the Series: The Vernon L. Pack Distinguished Lecture and Scholar-in-Residence program has been bringing high-profile scholars and speakers to Otterbein’s campus to discuss contemporary issues and topics for more than two decades. The Series 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. Learn more at