2016 Joseph S. Calvaruso Keynote Address
“The Secret to Unleashing Inner Greatness”
Thursday, April 21, 2016, 7 p.m.
Important update, April 18, 2016: Morris Dees, co-founder and chief trial attorney of the Southern Poverty Law Center, was originally scheduled to give the 2016 Joseph S. Calvaruso Keynote, but is unable to do so due to health concerns.
Benjamin Jealous is the former president and CEO of the NAACP. He is now a partner at the Silicon Valley venture capital firm Kapor Capital, where he invests in high-growth companies that have a positive social impact and continues his goal of increasing opportunities for minorities in the tech economy.
A Rhodes Scholar, Jealous was named by Fortune and Time magazines to their “Top 40 Under 40” lists and was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum. Jealous' new book, Reach: 40 Black Men Speak on Living, Leading, and Succeeding, features personal essays from prominent figures in the black community.
The youngest president in NAACP history, he began his career at age 18 opening mail at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. Jealous has been a leader of successful state and local movements to ban the death penalty, outlaw racial profiling, defend voting rights, secure marriage equality and end mass incarceration.
Under his leadership from 2008 to 2013, the NAACP grew to be the largest civil rights organization online and on mobile, and became the largest community-based nonpartisan voter registration operation in the country. Jealous' leadership at the NAACP included bringing environmentalist organizations into the fight to protect voting rights, and convincing well-known conservatives to join the NAACP.
Prior to leading the NAACP, he spent 15 years as a journalist and community organizer. While at Mississippi's Jackson Advocate newspaper, his investigations were credited with exposing corruption at a state penitentiary and proving the innocence of a black farmer framed for arson. While at Amnesty International, he led successful efforts to outlaw prison rape, expose the increasing trend of children being sentenced to life without the possibility of parole, and draw attention to expanded racial profiling in the wake of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
Dr. Joseph Serra, ’56
2002 Elkin R. Isaac Lecture
Professor of Psychology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) and a faculty member in UIUC's Beckman Biological Intelligence Group
“From Crawler to Walker to a Polio-Free World”
Wednesday, April 17, 2002; 7:30 p.m.
Bobbitt Visual Arts Auditorium
A Detroit native, Joseph Serra served in Korea from 1950 to 1951 as a Navy medical corpsman with the First Marine Division Air Wing. After graduating from Albion in 1956, he then earned his M.D. degree from Wayne State University Medical School. He interned at Los Angeles County Hospital and returned to Wayne State University for his residency in orthopedic surgery. In 1966, he and his wife, Dorothy McEvoy Serra, '59, moved to Stockton, Calif., where Joe entered private practice. He co-founded the Stockton Orthopedic Medical Group in 1970. His special interest has been sports medicine. He has served as orthopedic team physician for the University of the Pacific, the Milwaukee Brewer farm system, and the Stockton Ports baseball team.
A member of the Rotary Club of Stockton since 1977, he was president in 1990-91. He was governor of District 5220 in 1994-95 and has also been national advisor to the Permanent Fund Initiative. He is currently a member of the International Polio Plus Committee and the National Polio Plus Speaker's Bureau, as well as a zone coordinator for the Partnering Task Force. He served as an Rotary International training leader at the 1999 International Assembly in Anaheim.
Serra has served the Rotary Foundation as a volunteer orthopedic surgeon in Malawi, Africa, on four tours of duty, primarily performing surgery on polio victims called "crawlers." He received the Rotary Foundation Citation for Meritorious Service, the President's Citation, the Service Above Self Award, and the Foundation PolioPlus Pioneer Award. He and his wife represented Rotary International in Liberia, Africa, during the first National Immunization Days in January 1999.
In his home community, Serra has served on several boards, including Goodwill Industries and the University of the Pacific Athletic Foundation, and is a member of many medical societies and international organizations. He was named "Stocktonian of the Year" in 1987, which he attributes to Rotary's prominent identity in his community.
The Serras have two sons and two grandchildren. Joe's favorite activities include skiing, mountaineering, travel, photography, and giving slide presentations about Rotary's legacy to the world-the eradication of polio.
Elkin R. "Ike" Isaac, ’48
2005 Elkin R. Isaac Alumni Lecture
Former Athletic Director at the University of the Pacific
“Exercise: Combating the Aging Process”
Wednesday, April 21, 2005; 4:00 p.m.
Bobbitt Visual Arts Auditorium
A member of the Albion College faculty from 1952 to 1975, Elkin R. "Ike" Isaac also served as head basketball coach (1953-1959), head track coach (1953-1962), and head cross country coach (1962-1969). He led his teams to one Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) basketball title, six consecutive league championships in track and three cross country championships. He also served as athletic director.
Upon leaving Albion in 1975, Isaac became athletic director at the University of the Pacific. He retired there in 1984.
As an Albion student, Isaac earned All-MIAA honors in 1943, 1946, and 1947 for his outstanding performance on the basketball court. He was captain and voted Most Valuable Player of the 1947 team. He also played football for three years. Isaac was inducted into the Albion College Athletic Hall of Fame in 1989 and received the Hall of Fame's Lifetime Achievement Award in 1999.
He interrupted his college career from 1943 to 1945 to serve in the U.S. Air Force as a pilot during World War II.
In honor of Isaac's long-time support of Albion College athletics, the College's outdoor track, rebuilt and resurfaced in 1997, was named in his honor. The Elkin Isaac Track Drive was co-chaired by Cedric and June Luke Dempsey, both ’54, with assistance from Thomas Schwaderer, '56.
The Elkin R. Isaac Endowed Lectureship was created in 1991 by Isaac's friends and former students. Today, this endowment has been expanded to fund the Elkin R. Isaac Student Research Symposium.
Ike and his wife, Edie, reside in Kalamazoo.
Dr. John Porter, ’53
2004 Elkin R. Isaac Alumni Lecture
Former CEO of the Urban Education Alliance, Inc., General Superintendent for the Detroit Public Schools, President of Eastern Michigan University
“Educational Leadership in the 21st Century”
Wednesday, April 14, 2004; 7:30 p.m.
Bobbitt Visual Arts Auditorium
From the classroom to the nation's capital, John Porter has spent the last 50 years as an advocate for Michigan students of all ages while serving both the state and federal governments as an education expert. After earning his Ph.D. at Michigan State University, he was named the state superintendent of public instruction in 1969, a position he held for 10 years. Porter left the Michigan Department of Education to take the presidency of Eastern Michigan University in 1979. After his successful 10-year tenure at Eastern, he became general superintendent for the Detroit Public Schools from 1989 to 1991. He then served as chief executive officer of the Urban Education Alliance, Inc. in Ypsilanti until his recent retirement.
Porter has been recognized at Albion with the Distinguished Alumni Award in 1970, an honorary degree in 1973, and with the Athletic Hall of Fame's Lifetime Achievement Award in 2003. He served on the College's Board of Trustees for 15 years and is now an honorary trustee. In recognition of his distinguished career in education, in 2002 the College announced the creation of the John W. Porter Endowed Professorship in the Fritz Shurmur Education Institute.