Psychologist, Author Dacher Keltner to Keynote 2018 Isaac Symposium

Los Angeles First Lady Amy Elaine Wakeland, ’91, opens 29th annual event with Alumni Lecture

March 13, 2018

Renowned psychologist and author Dacher Keltner, a leading scholar in the study of emotion, will present “The Foundations and Practices of a Civil and Kind Society” as the Joseph S. Calvaruso Keynote Address on Thursday, April 19, at 7 p.m. in Goodrich Chapel as the concluding piece of the 2018 Elkin R. Isaac Student Research Symposium.

Dacher KeltnerAlbion College’s 29th annual two-day celebration of student research and scholarship will begin Wednesday, April 18, at 7:30 p.m., when Amy Elaine Wakeland, ’91, the current first lady of Los Angeles, California, presents the Elkin R. Isaac Alumni Lecture in Norris Center’s Towsley Lecture Hall.

Keltner (right), professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, and director of the Berkeley Social Interaction Lab, is the author of The Power Paradox: How We Gain and Lose Influence (2016) and the best-selling Born to Be Good: The Science of a Meaningful Life (2009). Through his research and teaching, he focuses on the biological and evolutionary origins of compassion, awe, love, beauty, power, social class and inequality. He has also written for The New York Times Magazine, The Times of London and Utne Reader, and served as a scientific consultant for the highly acclaimed 2015 Pixar film Inside Out. Additionally, Keltner has seen 20 of his Ph.D. students and postdoctoral fellows become professors.

WakelandAmy Elaine Wakeland, '91 (right), a 1993 Rhodes Scholar, has spent more than two decades as a political strategist, public policy expert and advocate for children and families. As Los Angeles’ first lady, she recently led successful efforts to fund and complete the city's first-ever data-driven analysis of the status of women and girls and expansion of its Domestic Assault Response Teams to all police divisions. Wakeland helped found the Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust, which builds parks in the city’s most park-poor neighborhoods, and the Pobladores Fund, a giving circle supporting grassroots social justice causes. She also advises numerous organizations on human rights and social justice issues.

In morning and afternoon sessions on Thursday, April 19, more than 100 students will present their research and scholarship during the Symposium, which honors alumnus Elkin R. "Ike" Isaac, '48, who served for 25 years at Albion as a coach, professor and athletic director. Isaac later taught and served as athletic director for the University of the Pacific. The Symposium was established in 1991 by Isaac's former students and team members.

All Symposium events are free and open to the public. For further information, visit the Symposium Web site, or contact Symposium coordinator Michael Van Houten at or 517/629-0382.