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Presidential Colloquium Series

The Presidential Colloquium regularly features influential thought leaders in a wide range of fields—from poets and writers to economists and policy experts—to share their expertise, offer insights, and inspire discourse on key social, political and global topics that call for our attention. Come discover, learn, ask questions and engage in the conversation. Lectures are free and open to the public.


Ruby Bridges

Friday, February 2, 2018
4 p.m., Leo Weinstein Auditorium

In 1960, Ruby Bridges became a symbol of the civil rights movement as the youngest of a group of African American students to integrate schools in the American South. Her bravery inspired the Norman Rockwell painting The Problem We All Live With (1964), which depicts the young Bridges walking to school between two sets of federal marshals, a racial epithet marking the wall behind them. Her memoir, Through My Eyes, was released in 1999, the same year she established the Ruby Bridges Foundation to promote the values of tolerance, respect and appreciation of all differences. Through education and inspiration, the foundation seeks to end racism and prejudice. Describing the mission of the foundation, Bridges has said “Racism is a grown-up disease and we must stop using our children to spread it.” She was awarded the Presidential Citizens Medal by President Bill Clinton in 2001.

Jack P. Shonkoff, M.D.

Leveraging 21st-Century Science to Advance Social Justice

Thursday, February 15, 2018
5 p.m., Leo Weinstein Auditorium

Jack P. Shonkoff, M.D., is founding director and chair of Harvard’s Center on the Developing Child, whose mission is to bring credible science to bear on public policy affecting young children. He also chairs the JPB Research Network on Toxic Stress, which is developing new ways to assess the biological, bio-behavioral and health consequences of excessive stress. In 2011, he launched Frontiers of Innovation to support the lifelong health of young children and families experiencing significant adversity. Shonkoff is a chaired professor at Harvard’s Chen School of Public Health and at the Graduate School of Education; he also is professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and Children’s Hospital.

Juana Maria Rodriguez

Friday, April 13, 2018
Time and location TBD

Juana Maria Rodriguez is a leading scholar and cultural commentator whose research focuses on race and sexual politics, Latino/a/x and Caribbean literatures and cultures, queer activism and transgender studies. She is the author of two books: Queer Latinidad: Identity Practices, Discursive Spaces introduced the idea of queer latinidad, and Sexual Futures, Queer Gestures, and Other Latina Longings earned the Alan Bray Memorial Prize from the Modern Language Association. Rodriguez is professor of comparative ethnic studies at UC Berkeley, and is a proud recipient of the university’s Distinguished Teaching Award. The recipient of a Ph.D. degree from UC Berkeley, she earned a B.A. from San Francisco State University and an M.A. in English from Columbia.


Past Events

Maura Healey

Our Role in Upholding the Constitutıon

Monday, September 18, 2017, 4:30 p.m.
Leo Weinstein Auditorium, Wright Hall

Maura Healey is an attorney, a former professional basketball player (she’s 5’4”) and, since 2015, the Attorney General for Massachusetts. As the “people’s lawyer” for the commonwealth, Healey leads an office dedicated, in her words, to “protecting consumers, ensuring equality for all and keeping our communities safer.” Since taking office, Healey has tackled issues including the heroin and prescription drug abuse epidemic, escalating health care costs, workers' rights and student loan costs. She has focused on strengthening consumer protections and on improving our criminal justice system. A Harvard graduate with a J.D. degree from Northeastern, Healey is the first openly gay attorney general in the United States.