Wise words


Activist urges students to take a stand

Julia Butterfly Hill became a global icon of environmentalism in the 1990s, when she spent two years on a platform 180 feet up in an ancient California redwood tree, braving high winds, frostbite, and helicopter harassment to stop indiscriminate logging practices. But saving old-growth forests was only part of her message to students and faculty October 19, when she urged the audience to look within and find their own cause worth fighting for. “I’m not saying that you should care about the same things that I care about,” she said during her appearance in Schwitzer Student Center. “I’m hoping that, when the conversation is over tonight, you’ll think about the things that you care about.” Hill is a published author living in Belize and active on many public issues.

‘Rent’ fans excited about actor’s visit

Anthony Rapp, best known from stage and film versions of the hit Broadway musical Rent, addressed fans—including Theatre students—September 28. His visit was part of Homecoming festivities and this year’s University Series of lectures and other events. Rapp’s title, “Without You: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and the Musical Rent,” is borrowed from his 2006 memoir, which explores his career and his personal life, including his mother’s battle with cancer. Earlier that day, Rapp spoke to a Theatre class and presented a free master class for interested students.

Examining the faith of our Founding Fathers

Nationally known journalist, author, and media consultant Steven Waldman discussed the spiritual views of early U.S. leaders. As featured guest on February 7 for UIndy’s annual Showers Lectures in the Christian Religion, Waldman offered two addresses: “From Militant Unitarians to Anti-Christian Jesus Lovers: The Spiritual Lives of the Founding Fathers” and “Myths About Religion and the Founding Fathers: The Real Story of the Birth of Religious Freedom in America.” A cofounder and former CEO of the Beliefnet website, and a senior Federal Communications Commission advisor, he is a longtime Newsweek correspondent and former national editor for U.S. News & World Report. Waldman’s 2008 book Founding Faith: Providence, Politics, and the Birth of Religious Freedom in America was a New York Times bestseller.

Nobel Peace Prize winner captivates audience

International activist and 2011 Nobel Peace Prize winner Leymah Gbowee inspired her UIndy audience February 15 with the saga of how women in her native Liberia banded together across ethnic and religious lines to end a long civil war and depose a cruel dictator. Her role in helping to oust Charles Taylor, the former president of Liberia, was featured in the award-winning documentary Pray the Devil Back to Hell. The author of Mighty Be Our Powers: How Sisterhood, Prayer, and Sex Changed a Nation at War spoke and took questions for over an hour at the event, presented by the International Relations program in cooperation with the Sagamore Institute. One of Gbowee’s major concerns in western Africa is the education of young women. While introducing her, UIndy President Beverley Pitts announced that UIndy is offering a two-semester scholarship for a Liberian student to study in Indianapolis.

Hamilton tackles foreign policy

Statesman Lee Hamilton came to UIndy on March 1 to discuss the role of the U.S. in world affairs.Hamilton spoke about “American Foreign Policy After Iraq and Afghanistan” as part of UIndy’s annual Jerry and Carol Israel public policy lectures. Hamilton represented Indiana in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1965 to 1999, becoming a key figure on issues of foreign policy, intelligence, and national security. He served as president and director of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C., cochaired the bipartisan Iraq Study Group in 2006, and served as vice chair of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, known as the 9/11 Commission. Hamilton has written two books on the subject of how representative government works and how to take active roles in the process: How Congress Works and Why You Should Care and Strengthening Congress. Lugar addresses youth in 35th UIndy Symposium The “Arab Spring” democracy movement in the Middle East shows how young people drive new political trends across the globe, Senator Richard Lugar told Indiana’s most promising young leaders on December 10 at UIndy. Indiana’s senior senator made the remarks during his keynote address to the hundreds of standout high school juniors assembled for the 35th annual Lugar Symposium for Tomorrow’s Leaders. The Symposium brings together top high school juniors from around the state for a day of expert discussion on pressing public issues and world events. More than 15,000 students have participated over the years. The annual symposium is presented by the University’s Richard G. Lugar Center for Tomorrow’s Leaders.

Civic leader & alumnus offers King insights

Civic leader and UIndy trustee Murvin Enders encouraged students to pursue lives of activism and service in his keynote speech during the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration on January 16. In the speech, “Not Just a Dream,” he spoke of his childhood in the segregrated South and the inspiration he drew from the civil rights movement. “What is your dream?” he asked his audience. “What actions will you take? What will you do to ensure that it is not just a dream?” Enders earned his MBA from UIndy and is a former utility executive now serving as executive director of 100 Black Men of Indianapolis, a nonprofit mentoring organization, as well as a board member for other organizations. Prior to the public event, Enders was honored for his community service efforts with induction into UIndy’s Sankofa Circle of Civic Leaders.

Army veteran of Iraq discusses his poetry

Soldier-poet Brian Turner spoke on campus February 28 as a guest of the University of Indianapolis Kellogg Writers Series. Turner is an Army veteran whose debut book of poems, Here, Bullet, was inspired by his experiences as an infantry team leader in Iraq. The collection was a New York Times “Editor’s Choice” selection and won the 2005 Beatrice Hawley Award, the 2006 Pen Center USA “Best in the West” award, and the 2007 Poets’ Prize, among other honors. His second collection, 2010’s Phantom Noise, explores issues faced by returning veterans and their communities. The book was nominated for the 2010 T. S. Eliot Prize in Poetry. The University’s Allen & Helen Kellogg Writers Series brings writers of distinction to campus for classroom discussions and free public readings.

NPR’s Inskeep is author, Penrod Lecturer

NPR news anchor Steve Inskeep talked about life as an international journalist during a March 23 UIndy appearance. The Carmel High School graduate is a globetrotting, award-winning journalist and daily co-host of “Morning Edition,” the most widely heard radio news program in the nation. Inskeep’s NPR career began with presidential primary coverage in 1996. He joined “Morning Edition” in 2004 and has hosted the show from New Orleans, Pakistan, and Iran; investigated Iraqi police; and earned a Robert F. Kennedy journalism award for a series on conflict in Nigeria. Inskeep’s book, Instant City: Life and Death in Karachi, uses the Pakistani metropolis as a case study in examining the pressures facing rapidly growing cities around the world. Karachi has exploded from 350,000 residents in 1941 to over 13 million. “It’s grown, kind of like Fishers,” he quipped. The event was presented by the Anthropology Department’s Blanche E. Penrod Lecture Series and organized by Professor Chris Schmidt, who went to high school with Inskeep and worked with him at the school radio station.