Benjamin Jealous

Benjamin Jealous2016 Joseph S. Calvaruso Keynote Address

“The Secret to Unleashing Inner Greatness”

Thursday, April 21, 2016, 7 p.m.
Goodrich Chapel

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.

Faculty and Staff

Principal Investigator

Beth LincolnBeth Lincoln

Office: Palenske 120
Phone: 517/629-0331


Ronney Mourad, professor of religious studies and department chair at Albion CollegeRonney Mourad
Religious Studies

Office: 211 Vulgamore
Phone: 517/629-0354

Steering Committee

Lynne ChytiloLynne Chytilo
Art and Art History

Office: Bobbitt Visual Arts Center
Phone: 517/629-0373

gueninlellemourad2Dianne Guenin-Lelle
Professor of French
Modern Languages and Cultures

Office: 117 Vulgamore Hall
Phone: 517/629-0335

Allison Harnish, Anthropology/SociologyAllison Harnish
Assistant Professor

Office: Robinson 310
Phone: 517-629-0272

Beth LincolnBeth Lincoln

Office: Palenske 120
Phone: 517/629-0331

Ian MacInnes, Chair and Professor, English DepartmentIan MacInnes
Department Chair and Professor

Office: Vulgamore 311
Phone: 517/629-0259

Bindu Madhok, chair and professor, Albion College Philosophy DepartmentBindu Madhok
Department Chair and Professor

Office: Vulgamore Hall, Room 209
Phone: 517/629-0338

Ronney Mourad, professor of religious studies and department chair at Albion CollegeRonney Mourad
Religious Studies

Office: 211 Vulgamore
Phone: 517/629-0354

Clayton Parr, assistant professor of music, Albion CollegeClayton ParrAssociate Professor

Office: T-1, Goodrich Chapel
Phone: 517-629-0251

Gregg Strand - Director of Corporate and Foundation RelationsGregg Strand
Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations
Institutional Advancement

Office: 3rd Floor Ferguson
Phone: 517/629-0510

John Woell, associate provost and professor of philosophy, Albion CollegeJohn Woell
Associate Provost

Phone: 517/629-0776

Humanities and Arts Labs

Creating hands-on learning experiences in the arts and humanities is the centerpiece of a new program at Albion College, funded by a substantial grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Through this generous grant, faculty, students, and outside partners will develop a series of collaborative symposia and workshops focused upon the applied nature of laboratory experimentation within the arts and humanities disciplines. According to Professor of English Ian MacInnes, “Students will be challenged to move from being observers and consumers of the arts and humanities to being active participants in the disciplines’ intellectual work.”

Pilot labs will link together several groups of courses in the 2015 spring and fall semesters. Students in these lab courses will use the knowledge they gain in the classroom to initiate projects that are collaborative, experiential, experimental, and publicly engaging.

Two of the labs are specific to the local Albion community, whereas the other two explore broader themes that are applicable to a larger audience. President Mauri Ditzler sees the creation of these labs as an opportunity to highlight the potential within our arts and humanities departments. “More broadly, the lab model will cultivate a sense of shared purpose and a deeper understanding of the value of the arts and humanities in our community, in America and throughout the world,” says Ditzler.

What exactly does an arts and humanities lab look like?

The Spring 2015 pilot labs listed below provide a better understanding of this important initiative.

Creating Sustainable Communities

Students will embark on field trips and participate in guest lectures in an attempt to understand the different types of sustainable communities that exist. After exploring different types of sustainable communities, students will determine how these models can be applied to the local Albion community, while also examining how the arts and humanities play a role in that vision.

Participating Classes: Art 346, Color Photography; Anthropology 271, Nature and Society: An Introduction to Ecological Anthropology; Philosophy 301, Environmental Ethics; and Art History 315, Earth Art and the Environment.

Race and Representation

Participants will analyze the various forms of racism, the power that is gained from it, and the strategies used to resist it. While studying the broader subject of racism, students will narrow their focus by evaluating a set of lithographs and documenting their historical relevance within the context of racism. They will use the information they collect to develop an online art gallery and participate in a joint symposium.

Participating Classes: English 151, Introduction to Literary Study: Literature of the American South; English 351, Four American Poets; History 289, Curating Controversy: Creating a Digital Exhibit of Racist Images; History 243, African American History from 1865-2015; and Ethnic Studies 270, Hip Hop and Social Change.

Albion Accelerator: A Space for Creative Innovation and Collaboration

Students will be provided with the opportunity to brainstorm the creation of a multi-use "maker space" in downtown Albion. By conducting a feasibility study, students will determine what would be necessary to establish facility that promotes making, thinking, writing, and collaborating. The Albion Accelerator will foster interaction among community members, Albion College students and faculty, and recent graduates. Students will work on creating a facility that caters to the needs and interests of the people of Albion while adapting to the ever-changing needs of the community.

Participating Classes: Art 361, Advanced Ceramics; Art History 317, Art and Theory; and Economics and Management 305, Women in Business and Leadership.

Encountering Food

Students will encounter food that is local and global, and contemporary and ancient through a series of projects and field trips.Students will meet in small groups to share and exchange ideas based upon what aspect of food they're studying and how it has enhanced their cultural awareness. The lab will end with a community dinner that is researched, prepared, and served by participating students. Attendees will be entertained with music and reflections describing each student’s unique food encounters.

Participating Classes: English 389, Wild Things: The Literature of Wilderness and the Wild, Anthropology 240, Ancient Civilizations, French 330, French Louisiana: Cajun and Creole Experiences, Music 132, Briton Singers.

Dr. Joseph Serra, ’56

Dr. Joseph Serra, '562002 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.

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