The Athenaeum

75th Anniversary Distinguished Speaker Series at the Athenaeum

The 75th Anniversary Distinguished Speaker Series at the Athenaeum will showcase an extraordinary lineup of public figures who are addressing challenges and leveraging opportunities in important areas of responsible leadership. These special opportunities will allow the CMC community, especially students, to interact with and hear from prominent experts in varied fields.

Guests of the Distinguished Speaker Series are selected based on their intellectual or professional distinction/recognition; originality of perspective and voice; dedication to open and free expression; respect for diverse viewpoints; and commitment to constructive dialogue on matters of conflict and controversy. Speakers will engage in discussion on one of three academic collaboration themes for the 75th Anniversary: Civilization and Commerce, Unity and Division, and Science and Policy.

We are delighted to welcome the following outstanding thought leaders to campus this fall. Information on the Spring 2022 season will follow.

Alumni, parents, and friends of the College please register for the 75th Anniversary Distinguished Speakers on the alumni and parent website.

CMC faculty and staff, please register on the Athenaeum website.

Fall 2021

Mon, September 13, 2021 — Dinner Program

On Breakthrough vs. Follow-Through Innovation
Atul Gawande

We have had a century of scientific investment in breakthrough innovation that has transformed the potential of lives and society. But it has not been matched by investment in follow-through innovation to deliver these breakthroughs widely. Atul Gawande, M.D., M.P.H, practicing surgeon, writer, and public health leader, believes that the science and study of systems, however, is producing solutions demonstrating massive potential to save lives and reduce suffering.

Dr. Gawande’s talk will highlight the special 75th Anniversary theme of “Science and Policy.”

Read more about the speaker

Live broadcast information for alumni, parents and friends will be forthcoming shortly.

Mon, September 27, 2021 — Dinner Program

Notes From The Field: The Pipeline Project
Anna Deavere Smith

One of the most hailed and provocative theatre artists of our time, Anna Deavere Smith explores current events from multiple points of view and combines the journalistic technique of interviewing her subjects with the art of interpreting their words through performance. In her powerful first-person storytelling, she brings attention to youth who, through poverty, are vulnerable to becoming embroiled in cycles of incarceration. Drawing from interviews with more than 250 people living and working within a challenged system, Smith depicts the personal accounts of students, parents, teachers, and administrators caught in America’s school-to-prison pipeline and shines a light on a lost generation of American youth.

Ms. Smith’s talk will highlight the special 75th Anniversary theme of “Unity and Division.”

Read more about the speaker

Live broadcast information for alumni, parents and friends will be forthcoming shortly.

Thu, October 7, 2021 — Dinner Program

Progress and Enlightenment in the 21st Century
Steven Pinker

Progress is a demonstrable fact: We are healthier, richer, freer, safer, and happier than our ancestors. It’s not because of some mystical force that lifts our species upward. It’s because of the Enlightenment ideal of using knowledge to enhance well-being, and the institutions it created, including science, liberal democracy, commerce, and organizations for international cooperation. Will this progress continue, given the threats of pandemics, climate change, and authoritarian populism? No one knows for sure, but Steven Pinker, award- winning experimental psychologist and Johnstone Family Professor of Psychology at Harvard University, will offer ways to think about the challenges ahead.

Professor Pinker’s talk will highlight the special 75th Anniversary theme of “Civilization and Commerce.”

Photo credit: Rose Lincoln, Harvard University

Read more about the speaker

Live broadcast information for alumni, parents and friends will be forthcoming shortly.

Thu, October 28, 2021 — Dinner Program

When Should Law Forgive?
Martha Minow

In an age of resentment, mass incarceration, exploding student debt, and recriminations across social media and communities, forgiveness is an under-utilized resource, especially in law and politics. When and how can laws, courts, public officials, and neighbors forgive crimes and debts? Can pardons and amnesties be fairly granted or inevitably reflect the biases of the powerful? Should law encourage people to forgive? Martha Minow, 300th Anniversary University Professor at Harvard University and former dean of Harvard Law School, explores the promise and limitations of forgiveness within and beyond law amid a global pandemic, reckonings about racial and gender-based wrongs, and political anxiety.

Professor Minow’s talk will highlight the special 75th Anniversary theme of “Unity and Division.”

Read more about the speaker

Live broadcast information for alumni, parents and friends will be forthcoming shortly.

Thu, November 4, 2021 — Dinner Program

Science and Policy (Title Forthcoming)
Dr. France A. Córdova

Dr. France A. Córdova, former director of the National Science Foundation, is an experienced leader in science, engineering, and education with more than three decades experience at universities and national labs.  She has served in five presidential administrations, both Democratic and Republican, and is an internationally recognized astrophysicist for her contributions in space research and instrumentation. Dr. Córdova is the only woman to serve as president of Purdue University, where she led the university to record levels of research funding, reputational rankings, and student retention and graduation rates and is also chancellor emerita of the University of California, Riverside. She has also served as NASA’s chief scientist, the youngest person and first woman, and was awarded the agency’s highest honor, the Distinguished Service Medal.

Dr. Córdova’s talk will highlight the special 75th Anniversary theme of “Science and Policy.”

Read more about the speaker

Live broadcast information for alumni, parents and friends will be forthcoming shortly.

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