Calvin College hosts 15 national leaders for January speaker series


Calvin College's January Series is heard by more than 68,000 people — on campus or via live broadcasts at remote locations. Photo via

Calvin College kicks off the 26th year of its renowned January Series today.

One of the nation's leading lecture and cultural arts series, the free program brings 15 nationally acclaimed speakers to Grand Rapids to share information on a wide breadth of timely topics — drawing 40,000 on campus and remote attendees last year.

A few highlights from this year’s lineup include three time Emmy Award-winning broadcaster Cokie Roberts, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Sheryl WuDunn and the Army's first active duty blind officer, Capt. Scotty Smiley.

“Whatever's happening in the world, we are talking about it," said Kristi Potter, director of the January Series since 2007. "The speakers we bring in are tops in their field, and many of them offer Christian perspectives. Part of Calvin's mission is to teach us what’s going on in the world and show us how we can affect it. The January series offers us another platform to do just that.”

The series will be held at the school’s Covenant Fine Arts Center Auditorium from 12:30-1:30 p.m., Monday through Friday through Jan. 23, with doors opening at 11:30 a.m. Overflow space is available on campus for attendees who are not able to find a seat in the auditorium.

The January Series is also available via live video streaming and live audio streaming — and live remote webcasts of speakers can be viewed at 38 locations continent wide in 2013. In February, full video footage will be available for most of the speakers.

Since remote sites were added in 2008, viewership of the January Series has more than doubled, and the number of remote sites offering the series has more than tripled, according to Potter.

More information on the full lineup of 2013 speakers listed below, including information on each speaker, is at Calvin's website.

  • Jeremy Courtney, “Restoring Hearts in Iraq”
  • Sheryl WuDunn, “Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide”
  • Roberta Green Ahmanson, “Dreams Become Reality: Inspiration through the Arts”
  • Jenny Yang, “Welcoming the Stranger: Justice, Compassion and Truth in the Immigration Debate”
  • Richard J. Mouw and Robert Millet, “Evangelicals and Mormons: A Conversation and Dialogue”
  • Peter Diamandis, “Abundance: The Future is Better Than You Think”
  • Capt. Scotty Smiley, “Hope Unseen”
  • Jeff Van Duzer, “Why Business Matters to God”
  • Rebecca Skloot, “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks”
  • Cokie Roberts, “An Insider’s View of Washington, D.C.”
  • W. Dwight Armstrong, “Feeding the World and the Future of Farming”
  • Garth Pauley, “Rituals of Democracy: Inaugural Addresses in American History”
  • Robert Robinson, “Celebration Through Gospel Music”
  • Mike Kim, “North Korea-China: A Modern Day Underground Railroad”
  • Chap Clark, “Sticky Faith” (in partnership with the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship)

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