Higher Education and Human Resources

January Series presents speaker lineup

January 5, 2015
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Calvin College hosts 15 national leaders for January Speaker Series
Calvin College's January Series is heard by more than 38,000 people — on campus or via live broadcasts at remote locations. Photo via fb.com

A college is kicking off its internationally recognized speaker series this week with an eclectic group of presenters and topics.

Calvin College is launching its 28th-annual lecture and cultural arts series, known as the January Series, this Wednesday, at 12:30 p.m., at the Covenant Fine Arts Center Auditorium in Grand Rapids.

During the month of January, Calvin will host the hour long cultural-enrichment events, featuring 15 presenters discussing a variety of topics: global security; challenges in an “obesigenic” environment; reflections of a holocaust survivor; how technology impacts spiritual and social lives; why mass incarceration defines the American society; and more.

The 2015 speaker lineup kicks off with Bobette Buster presenting “Storytelling and the Arc of Transformation." Buster is a screenwriter for film studios such as Disney and Pixar and an adjunct professor at the University of Southern California's Graduate School of Cinematic Arts.

Most of the January Series presentations will also be broadcast live at more than 40 remote sites across Michigan, the U.S., Canada and Europe.

Last year, more than 38,000 people heard the presentations on campus or at a remote site.

15 days of conversation

Kristi Potter, director of the January Series, said the whole idea behind the series is to open the campus to students and the community for 15 days of great conversations about timely world issues.

“I am really excited about the caliber of speakers that will be here,” Potter said. “They are coming from all across the country.”

The January Series is hosted during Calvin’s interim semester, when students are encouraged to take a class not offered during regular semesters for a three-week period, which also allows them time to attend the series.

As a free and public series, Potter said the community feedback has been positive.

“It is amazing,” Potter said. “The community just loves it, and it is so much fun to hear the feedback throughout the month and throughout the year about how much people really do appreciate it. We have a lot of people who come every day, no matter the topic.”

2015 January Series

Jan. 7:   Bobette Buster, “Storytelling and the Arc of Transformation”

Jan. 8:   Dr. William Hurlbut, “Chemicals to Consciousness: the Mystery of the Human Mind”

Jan. 9:   Bryan Stevenson, “Why Mass Incarceration Defines Us as a Society”

Jan. 12: Craig Detweiler, “iGods: How Technology Shapes our Spiritual and Social Lives”

Jan. 13: Tova Friedman, “Kinderlager: Reflections of a Child Holocaust Survivor”

Jan. 14: Richard M. Daley, “CEO of the City”

Jan. 15: James Fishkin, “When the People Speak: Deliberate Democracy”

Jan. 16: Roxana Saberi, “On the Streets of Tehran”

Jan. 19: Alyce Claerbaut, “Billy Strayhorn: Beyond the Peaceful Side”

Jan. 20: Dr. David Katz, “The Rational Un-fattening of America’s Families”

Jan. 21: Elizabeth Dias, “Covering TIME”

Jan. 22: Admiral James Stavridis, “A Navy Admiral's Thoughts on Global Security”

Jan. 23: Larry Louters, “Demonstrating the Wonders of Chemistry: Discovering God's Majesty in the Minuscule”

Jan. 26: Paul Marshall, “Persecuted: The Global Assault on Christians”

Jan. 27: Jerry Sittser, “Adversity and Spiritual Formation”

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