Diversity Lecture Series

2012-2013 Diversity Lecture Series Speakers

The Celebration of Diversity Distinguished Lecture Series is celebrating its 25th Anniversary this season. The series is a collaborative diversity initiative between Butler University and the Office of the Mayor, with generous support from the Eli Lilly and Company Foundation, Citizens Energy Group, Indianapolis Power & Light Co., Old National Bank, Kroger Co., Radio One, and The Columbia Club.

Butler University invites the community to join us as we continue Butler's legacy of providing an avenue to promote ethnic diversity and multicultural awareness through increased interaction with high profile multicultural scholars, dignitaries and personalities on our campus.

Monday, Oct. 15, 7:30 p.m.

Lt. Dan Choi

Truth or Consequences

Clowes Memorial Hall

Dan -ChoiOn March 19, 2009, Lt. Dan Choi, a West Point graduate and Iraq veteran fluent in Arabic, announced that he was gay on The Rachel Maddow Show. Because of three words - "I am gay" - his life changed forever. Despite his extreme value as an Arabic speaker, able to communicate quickly and clearly with the Iraqi people, one month after his announcement Choi was notified that the Army had begun discharge proceedings against him. He was one of only eight soldiers from his graduating class who majored in Arabic.

The West Point Cadet Honor Code demanded truthfulness and honesty. It imposed a zero-tolerance policy against deception, or hiding behind comfort. Following the Honor Code isn't always easy, but honor and integrity are 24-hour values. Choi served for a decade under Don't Ask, Don't Tell, a policy that forces American soldiers to deceive and lie about their sexual orientation and forces others to tolerate deception and lying. These values are completely opposed to what he learned at West Point.

Choi continues to advocate for full lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights and veteran's health. He has served as grand marshal of the San Francisco, N.Y. City, Miami and Wichita LGBT Pride Parades, appeared frequently on national and international news programs, and serves on the boards of Marriage Equality USA and the American Foundation for Equal Rights. He is a graduate of the U.S. Army Scout Leaders Course, Air Assault School, Parachutist School, and is currently pursuing graduate studies at Harvard University.

Monday, Nov. 12, 7:30 p.m.

The Rev. Allan Boesak

The Righteousness of Our Strength: Reconciliation, Justice and the Historic Obligation of the Oppressed

Atherton Union Reilly Room

Allan -BoesakAllan Aubrey Boesak was born in Kakamas, Northern Cape, in 1946, the second youngest of eight children. He grew up and completed high school in Somerset West, studied at the University of Western Cape and received his Ph.D. in Theology from the Protestant Theological University in Kampen, the Netherlands, in 1976.

Boesak first became known as a liberation theologian with the publication of his doctoral dissertation, "Farewell to Innocence." He has served the church and the ecumenical movement in various senior capacities since 1978, including as President of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches, the first third world person and youngest ever to be elected into that position.

Although retired from active party politics, Boesak is still deeply and passionately involved in human rights, gender and sexual justice issues across the world. He is currently Theologian in Residence at the International Institute for the Study of Race, Reconciliation and Social Justice, Extraordinary Professor of Public Theology at Stellenbosch University and Honorary Professor of Humanities at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

Boesak will serve as a visiting professor and theologian at Butler University during the fall semester of the 2012-2013 academic year.

Thursday, Jan. 24, 201, 7:30 p.m.

Common - "The King of Conscious Hip-Hop"

"Lessons of Life: One Day It'll All Make Sense"

Clowes Memorial Hall


Common, hailed as one of hip-hop's most poetic and respected lyricists, delivers messages of self-respect, love, and activism in music and speeches that inspire all audiences. He rose to prominence in hip-hop, having recorded over seven albums: Can I Borrow a Dollar?, Resurrection, One Day It'll All Make Sense, Like Water For Chocolate, Electric Circus, BE, and Finding Forever. To produce both BE and Finding Forever, Common joined forces with fellow Chicago native and rap music mega-star Kanye West. This dynamic partnership resulted in four Grammy Award nominations in addition to two MTV Video Music Awards nominations, including one for Best Hip Hop Video.

In January 2007, he made his acting debut co-starring opposite Jeremy Piven, Ben Affleck, Alicia Keys, and Ryan Reynolds in Smokin' Aces for Universal Pictures. He is currently starring in the new AMC TV series, Hell on Wheels, which debuted in November, 2011.

In 2007 he launched the Common Ground Foundation, dedicated to empowering urban youth to realize their full potential. In 2009, Common was able to motivate and empower collegiate minds across the country, speaking at such prestigious institutions as California University of Pennsylvania, University of Memphis, Wright State University, University of Rochester, and KIPP Charter Schools.

Common also offers a younger generation a better understanding of self-respect and love, utilizing the cultural relevance of hip-hop, in the children's books he has written. The first one, entitled The MIRROR and ME, teaches lessons of life, the human spirit, and human nature. His follow-up book,I Like You But I Love Me, was recently nominated for an NAACP Image Award, and his third book,M.E. (Mixed Emotions), was released in 2008. His latest book,Someday It'll All Make Sense, a memoir about life and growing up, was released in September 2011.

Tuesday, April 25, 7:30 p.m. CANCELED

"An Evening with Maya Angelou, Global Renaissance Woman"

Clowes Memorial Hall

Free of charge; tickets are required.
Limit of two tickets per person; tickets available at Clowes Memorial Hall Box Office beginning Feb. 15 at 10 a.m.

2003 Maya AngelouMaya Angelou is one of the most renowned and influential voices of our time. Hailed as a global renaissance woman, Angelou is a celebrated poet, memoirist, novelist, educator, dramatist, producer, actress, historian, filmmaker, and civil rights activist.

Born on April 4, 1928, in St. Louis, Mo., Angelou was raised in St. Louis and Stamps, Ark. In Stamps, Angelou experienced the brutality of racial discrimination, but she also absorbed the unshakable faith and values of traditional African-American family, community, and culture.

As a teenager, Angelou's love for the arts won her a scholarship to study dance and drama at San Francisco's Labor School. At 14, she dropped out to become San Francisco's first African-American female cable car conductor. She later finished high school, giving birth to her son, Guy, a few weeks after graduation. As a young single mother, she supported her son by working as a waitress and cook, however her passion for music, dance, performance, and poetry would soon take center stage.

In 1954 and 1955, Angelou toured Europe with a production of the opera Porgy and Bess. She studied modern dance with Martha Graham, danced with Alvin Ailey on television variety shows and, in 1957, recorded her first album, Calypso Lady. In 1958, she moved to New York, where she joined the Harlem Writers Guild, acted in the historic Off-Broadway production of Jean Genet's The Blacks and wrote and performed Cabaret for Freedom.

In 1960, Angelou moved to Cairo, Egypt, where she served as editor of the English language weekly The Arab Observer. The next year, she moved to Ghana where she taught at the University of Ghana's School of Music and Drama, worked as feature editor for The African Review, and wrote for The Ghanaian Times.

While in Ghana, she met with Malcolm X and, in 1964, returned to America to help him build his new Organization of African-American Unity.

Shortly after her arrival in the United States, Malcolm X was assassinated, and the organization dissolved. Soon after X's assassination, Martin Luther King Jr. asked Angelou to serve as northern coordinator for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

With the guidance of her friend, the novelist, James Baldwin, she began work on the book that would become I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. Published in 1970, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings was published to international acclaim and enormous popular success. The list of her published verse, non-fiction, and fiction now includes more than 30 bestselling titles.

Angelou wrote the screenplay and composed the score for the 1972 film Georgia, Georgia. Her script, the first by an African-American woman ever to be filmed, was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.

She continues to appear on television and in films including the landmark television adaptation of Alex Haley's "Roots" (1977) and John Singleton's "Poetic Justice" (1993). In 1996, she directed her first feature film, "Down in the Delta." In 2008, she composed poetry for and narrated the award-winning documentary "The Black Candle," directed by M.K. Asante.

Angelou has served on two presidential committees, was awarded the Presidential Medal of Arts in 2000, the Lincoln Medal in 2008, and has received three Grammy awards. President Clinton requested that she compose a poem to read at his inauguration in 1993.

Angelou has received over 30 honorary degrees and is Reynolds Professor of American Studies at
Wake Forest University.