Former president, first lady to headline Diversity Lecture Series



Leah Nixon

Director of Communications


Aug. 28, 2014 GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. Tickets are gone already for the first event in Grand Rapids Community College’s 2014-15 Diversity Lecture Series, but other notable speakers — a recording artist, a writer for Rolling Stone and a clinical psychologist — will keep interest high.

Former President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, will join in GRCC’s 100-year celebration by headlining the 2014-15 lecture series. The Carters will speak about human rights, racial diversity and social justice during their presentation, which will begin at 5 p.m. Sept. 22 in GRCC’s Gerald R. Ford Fieldhouse, 111 Lyon St. NE. A book signing will begin at 3:45 p.m. in the college’s Calkins Science Center. The Carters’ presentation is the only event in this season’s series that requires a ticket, and it is sold out.

“President Carter does not do many of these events, and we are honored that he has accepted our invitation to join us in our centennial year,” said GRCC President Dr. Steven C. Ender.

The Diversity Lecture Series itself is celebrating its 20th year. It is organized by the Bob and Aleicia Woodrick Diversity Learning Center to give insight and understanding of multicultural issues to the West Michigan community.

This season’s other speakers are:

Author, professor and recording artist Elaine Richardson will speak about “PHD (Po H# on Dope) to Ph.D.: How Education Saved My Life” on Nov. 12. Richardson turned away from a life of drug addiction, pimps and stints in jail by returning to school. She became empowered with knowledge of her culture and history and is now a professor at Ohio State University.

Author and clinical psychologist Mary Pipher will discuss “The Green Boat: Sustaining Our Planet and Each Other” on Feb. 11. Pipher, who has written nine books, is concerned with how American culture influences mental health. She will look at how easily we are disconnected from our emotions, our bodies, each other and the truth, as we are engulfed in devastating information about the fate of our Earth.

Matt Taibbi, a writer for Rolling Stone, will look at “The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap” on March 25. Taibbi, a New York Times bestselling author, contends that our basic rights are now determined by our wealth or by our poverty. He paints an alarming portrait of contemporary American life but provides a way forward against this crisis.

With the exception of the Carter event, the free lectures begin at 7 p.m. at Fountain Street Church, 24 Fountain St. NE, and are ASL interpreted. On-campus parking is available for $3 (with a discount pass). For more information about the series, please call (616) 234-3390 or click here.

GRCC encourages the entire community to participate in its programs and activities. If you anticipate a need for an accommodation or have questions about accessibility, please call the Woodrick Diversity Learning Center at (616) 234-3390 in advance of your visit or program participation.

Grand Rapids Community College has been offering educational opportunities in West Michigan for 100 years. Established in 1914, the college offers degree courses, certification and training programs, and workshops and personal enrichment classes. Offerings are held on GRCC’s downtown Grand Rapids campus, as well as at several locations throughout Kent and Ottawa counties.