Adrian College Convocation Speakers: 2008 – 09
August 27, 2008 – Chapel 12:00 (Noon)
Stephen Lewis is one of the world's most influential speakers on human rights, social justice and international development. The former UN Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa, he has been named by TIME as one of the 100 Most Influential People In The World -- in the same category as The Dalai Lama and Nelson Mandela.
October 22, 2008 - Chapel 12:00 (Noon)
David Westbrook - Westbrook's scholarly writing generally tracks his teaching interests. Whether practical, political, or theoretical in intention, Westbrook's scholarship is grounded by his considerable experience in both European and American governments, private legal practices, and academies. The core of his scholarship, however, is critical and quite theoretical. In such works, the underlying difficulty may be understood as the lack of an adequate political language, i.e., how do we meet our need for a political economy, a way to explain to ourselves how we live together now, without undue reliance on the intellectual or political apparatus of the modernity we have abandoned?
November 19, 2008 – Chapel - 12:00 (Noon)
Dan Pero is President of the American Justice Partnership, a nationwide coalition to advocate for legal reform at the state level. Mr. Pero is a leading expert in political campaigns and issues management with more than 25 years experience in state government, grassroots organizing, communications and public affairs. He was recently named Michigan’s best Republican political consultant of the past 50 years by the Michigan Political History Society. He also served as a Michigan Legislature employee, and as a consultant for numerous other candidates and issues around the country. He has also worked in private industry, learning more about legislative issues from the corporate side.
January 21, 2009 – Dawson Auditorium – 12:00 (Noon)
Wambui Bahati is an actress, singer, writer, storyteller, inspirational and motivational speaker. She began her formal theatrical studies at New York University School of the Arts and made her professional theatrical debut in Godspell at Ford's Theater in Washington, D.C. She went on to perform in the Broadway productions of Godspell and Jesus Christ Superstar.
Wambui's regional and touring credits include starring roles in The Magic Show, Joseph Papp's rock version of Two Gentlemen of Verona, Little Ham, Nunsense, Don't Bother Me, I Can't Cope, Gone With the Wind –the musical, The Wiz and Crowns.
Wambui wrote, produced and stars in the one-woman musicals Balancing Act and I Am Domestic Violence. Both of these shows have received national acclaim for the unique way that they provide outstanding entertainment while dealing with important issues in our communities.
February 11, 2009 – Dawson Auditorium – 6:30 p.m
Ralph Votapek is the first gold medalist of the first Van Cliburn International Piano Competition and winner of the prestigious Naumberg Award. Born in Milwaukee, he studied at Northwestern University, the Manhattan School of Music and the Julliard School. Ralph has made hundreds of appearances with most of the major American orchestras, including sixteen appearances with the Chicago Symphony. He has made a special commitment to Latin America where he has toured every other year for four decades.
In the United States, his solo recitals have taken place in Carnegie Hall, Chicago's Orchestra Hall, Washington's Kennedy Center, and on numerous college campuses. His chamber music experience includes concerts with The Julliard, Fine Arts, New World and Chester String Quartets.
While on the faculty of Michigan State University, he recorded over 40 programs, many of which were distributed on the PBS network. His most recent CDs on the Ivory Classics lable feature the complete Goyescas of Granados and the 24 Preludes of Debussy.
March 11, 2009 – Dawson Auditorium – 12:00 (Noon)
Sheila Taormina was on the swim team at the University of Georgia, making All-American for four straight years and winning the 400 IM at the Southeastern Conference Championships in her senior year. Taormina made the US Olympic swim team in 1996 and won a gold medal in the 4 x 200 freestyle relay. In 1999 she turned her swim and endurance talents to the triathlon and began competing internationally in that sport. She became one of the world’s top triathletes, winning three World Cup races, one each in 2001, 2002, and 2003. Her 2003 victory was in Madeira, Spain, and on that same course, she won the 2004 ITU World Championships. In 2005 she was also World Champion in the aquathlon (swimming and running). Taormina competed at the Olympics in both 2000 and 2004 in the triathlon, her best finish being sixth in 2000 in the Olympic race.
After the 2004 Olympics Taormina set her sights on another sport – the modern pentathlon. Her swimming talent and triathlon abilities helped her in the swim and run phases, but the other sports were new to her. But her obvious athletic talent served her well and she became a top international competitor. In early 2008 she qualified for the US Olympic modern pentathlon team, becoming the first woman to compete at the Olympics in three distinct sports.