SVC Lecture Series for 2009-2010

from INSPIRation to INNOVATION

The lecture series for academic year 2009-2010 is an opportunity for Southern Vermont College and Bennington communities to think collectively about innovation. All lectures are free and open to the public. 

Friday, March 19
Annette Gordon-Reed
Topic: Presidents, Family, and Culture: Rethinking History
7 p.m. ~ Bennington Center for the Arts (includes a book signing)

Pulitzer prize-winning author/historian Professor Annette Gordon-Reed, who was recently awarded a National Humanities Medal by President Barack Obama, will deliver a lecture, entitled “Presidents, Family and Culture: Rethinking History,” at the Bennington Center for the Arts on Friday, March 19, at 7 p.m. This event is sponsored by Southern Vermont College as part of its 2009-2010 “From Inspiration to Innovation” lecture series. The lecture is free and open to the public, with a reception and book-signing (books provided by the Northshire Bookstore) to follow at the Bennington Center for the Arts. Gordon-Reed will also read and sign books on Saturday, March 20, at 7 p.m. at the Northshire Bookstore in Manchester. 

Gordon-Reed, a professor of law at New York Law School and professor of history at Rutgers University, won the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award for her 2008 book, “The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family.” Her first book, “Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings: An American Controversy,” published in 1997, put into a national spotlight Gordon-Reed’s work on this previously unresolved part of history. Gordon-Reed has also co-authored a memoir with civil rights activist and presidential advisor Vernon Jordan, and she has edited an anthology, “Race on Trial: Law and Justice in American History.” 

Her innovative research and prolific contribution to deepening the nation’s understanding of the humanities through history is what earned her the recent National Humanities Medal. Gordon-Reed is currently at work on several more historical accounts: a biography of President Andrew Johnson to be published this fall; a sequel to “The Hemingses of Monticello”; and an anthology as well as a biography of Jefferson. 

“I am delighted Annette is coming to Vermont,” said SVC President Karen Gross, a colleague of Professor Gordon-Reed at New York Law School. “She is an engaging scholar and teacher. The SVC community and the public will benefit from her wisdom; we look forward to welcoming her here.” 

Growing up in a racially-segregated town in Texas in the 1960s, Gordon-Reed made history as the first child to integrate to the town’s all-white schools. She graduated from Dartmouth College with a degree in history and Harvard Law School, where she was a member of the Law Review. She practiced law in New York City, where she was also Counsel to the New York City Board of Corrections. She lectures at conferences on history and law-related topics across the country..

The Northshire Bookstore in Manchester will host a book signing by Annette Gordon-Reed on Saturday, March 20.

Tuesday, September 22
Kevin O'Hara
Topic: Around Ireland with a Donkey
2:45 p.m. ~ SVC Everett Mansion Theatre

Photographer, author and journalist Kevin O'Hara recanted a colorful tale of his eight-

month, 1,720-mile journey around the coast of Ireland in his book, The Last of the Donkey Pilgrims. A delightful storyteller, O'Hara works as a psychiatric nurse at Berkshire Medical Center and is a faculty member of Southern Vermont College, as well as a contributor to the Berkshire Eagle.

FRIday, December 11
Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
Topic: Genealogy, Genetics and African-American History
7 p.m. ~ Bennington Center for the Arts (includes a book signing)

Literary critic and scholar, Gates explored an innovative approach to genealogy that was famously featured in the PBS miniseries, African American Lives. The Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and Director of the W.E.B. DuBois Institute of African and African American Research at Harvard University, Gates offers expert research, DNA analysis and poignant family stories in his lively talk on individual lineage and African-American history.

Tuesday, March 2
Sandra Jordan
Topic: Alpaca: From Commodity to Branded Luxury
2:45 p.m. ~ SVC Everett Mansion Theatre

Designer and entrepreneur extraordinaire, Jordan developed a green business plan to benefit local economic development while producing treasured Alpaca fiber in her native Peru. The result was the launch of her luxurious Prima Alpaca(TM) textile collection. Jordan honed her design and marketing skills as creative director of Jordan Winery, with a successful line of upscale silver wine and food service products, hailed as "jewels of the table."