Lilly Executive Kicks-Off 2018-19 Power of Diversity Lecture Series
Events and Lectures

Franklin College announced the names of guest speakers to visit campus during its 2018-2019 Power of Diversity Lecture Series.  

The series begins in October 2018 and will conclude in April 2019. It includes four programs hosted by local and national diversity advocates who aim to inspire campus dialogue, community engagement and civic education. The events are free and open to the public.

Monique Hunt McWilliams, assistant general counsel for pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly and Company, will open the series with her lecture on “The Advancement of Diversity and Inclusion.” The discussion begins at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 9, in Richardson Chapel. Her speech will address the role employers and academic institutions play in encouraging diversity and inclusion.

Hunt McWilliams has worked for Lilly since 1998, where she previously served as chief diversity officer and in litigation and legal compliance. During her four-year tenure as chief diversity officer, Hunt McWilliams piloted efforts to expand diversity and inclusion awareness globally and advocated for the importance of employee resource groups. She was the 2009 recipient of the Pepper Hamilton Champion of Diversity Award. An Indianapolis native, the Lilly executive currently resides in the city with her husband and two children.

Civil rights activist and author Troy Jackson will deliver the second lecture at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 13, in Richardson Chapel. His lecture, “Multi-Racial Organizing for Change,” will explore how the leadership of women of color in community organizing and protest has offered the United States “a recipe for transformative democracy.”

Jackson is the state strategies director for Faith in Action, a national organization that promotes state and local grassroots organizing efforts pressing for social reform. Previously, he served as executive director of the AMOS Project, an organization that acts in cooperation with 50 congregations in Greater Cincinnati to promote racial and economic justice, and as lead pastor of University Christian Church in Cincinnati.

His research includes the civil rights movement in Montgomery, Alabama, in the 1950s. Jackson is the author of Becoming King: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Making of a National Leader and co-author of Forgive Us: Confessions of a Compromised Faith.

Terrance Hayes, a professor of English and distinguished American poet, will speak as part of both the diversity series and in Franklin College’s Creative Writing Reading Series. Hayes is the author of the poetry collections How to be Drawn, Lighthead, which received the 2010 National Book Award for Poetry, and most recently American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassins, nominated for the National Book Award on Sept. 14.

A professor at the University of Pittsburgh, Hayes lives in Pittsburgh with his wife and children. His lecture and reading, “An Evening with Terrance Hayes,” will take place at 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 7, 2019, in the Branigin Room of the Napolitan Student Center. This program is possible through a grant from Indiana Humanities in cooperation with the National Endowment for the Humanities.  

Terri Morris Downs, executive director of the Immigrant Welcome Center, will speak at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 2, 2019, in Richardson Chapel. Her lecture, titled “Immigrants in Indiana: How Newcomers Are Changing our Landscape,” will address the role of immigrants in the state as leaders of cultural, social and civic change.

Morris Downs leads the Indianapolis-based Immigrant Welcome Center, an organization devoted to connecting local immigrants with community resources. Since its opening, the center has served more than 10,000 immigrants and refugees. As executive director, Morris Downs coordinates the Natural Helpers volunteer program, an initiative to provide immigrants with language assistance, housing, public transportation, health care and referral for jobs or job training, among other projects.

Established in 2017 by the Office of the President, the Power of Diversity Lecture Series is presented by the Center for Diversity and Inclusion. For additional information, please email or call the Franklin College Office of Communications at (317) 738-8185.

POSTED Sep 25, 2018