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Events at the McFarland Center

Spring 2021

All events will be held remotely via Zoom. Registration required. Many events will be recorded and made available for viewing on our Listen and Learn page.

Dismantling Structural Racism: Ron Lawson ‘75 on the Homeless Crisis

Ron Lawson '75February 8, 2021
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Holy Cross alumnus Ron Lawson ‘75, Chief Operating Officer of Care for the Homeless, will talk about the history of homelessness in New York City and the federal, state and city laws and policies that contribute to the problem. He also will discuss the impact systemic racism has had on the homeless crisis. Lawson worked as a financial analyst and manager for some of the biggest firms on Wall Street before finding himself homeless. Laid off during the recession in the early 1990s, he spent six months without a job or home before he was recruited to work for NYC mayor David Dinkins’ reelection campaign. He then re-built his career in operations, financial management, and consulting for nonprofits. Read more about him in the Holy Cross Magazine. Part of our Conversations with Alumni on Dismantling Structural Racism.

Saving the Planet Cost-Effectively

Joseph AldyFebruary 17, 2021
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Economist Joseph E. Aldy, Professor of the Practice of Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, draws from the theory and practice of carbon pricing and pollution markets to explain how it works around the world and to explore the potential design of U.S. climate change policy. A Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar, Aldy is also a University Fellow at Resources for the Future, a Faculty Research Fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research, and a Senior Adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. In 2009-2010, he served as the Special Assistant to the President for Energy and Environment at the White House. Organized with Economics & Accounting and the Phi Beta Kappa Society.

Campus Fishbowl: COVID-19 and the Ethics of Vaccines

February 22, 2021
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Reaching a threshold of “herd immunity” will be key to suppressing COVID-19 and resuming more normal operations in our businesses and institutions around the world. But what does the rollout of the vaccination look like in the U.S. and globally, and what ethical considerations are made in developing the policies and protocols for administering it? Who can get the vaccine, and who is required to take it? Do we have a moral obligation to be vaccinated? Should Holy Cross require students to be vaccinated? Join a fishbowl discussion featuring Rev. William Stempsey, S.J., and Jameliah Shorter-Bourhanou (Philosophy), Geoffrey Findlay (Biology), Denis Kennedy (Political Science), Mary Doyle Roche (Religious Studies), moderated by Thomas M. Landy, Director, McFarland Center for Religion, Ethics and Culture. Part of a series on Truth, Skepticism, Complexity: Thinking in a Post-Truth Age.

Deaf Catholics Shaping the Church Today

Lana PortolanoStephanie ClarkFebruary 24, 2021
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Deaf people have created vibrant communities around the world, including active faith communities that contribute to a globally diverse Church. How do Deaf Catholics use language, community and culture to experience the faith? Lana Portolano, author of the newly published "Be Opened: The Catholic Church and Deaf Culture" (CUA Press, 2020) and Professor of English at Towson University, Maryland, joins Holy Cross Deaf Studies Professor Stephanie Clark, an expert on Deaf culture, and Fr. Joseph Bruce, S.J. '73, archivist with the Deaf Catholic Archives at Holy Cross, to explore the intersection of Catholic life and Deaf culture. ASL and voice interpretation will be provided. Part of the McFarland Center's initiative on Catholics & Cultures.

The Republican Party’s Factional Future

Steven TelesFebruary 24, 2021
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Steven Teles, Professor of Political Science at the Johns Hopkins University, Senior Fellow at the Niskanen Center, and co-author of "Never Trump: The Revolt of the Conservative Elites" (Oxford University Press, 2020), will assess how deep fissures in the once-homogenous Republican Party will develop in the coming years, and how a more heterogeneous, fractured party will change how American politics works across the board. Part of a series on Repairing the Fabric of Our Nation.

Public Health Reporting in a Pandemic of Disinformation

Caroline ChenMarch 1, 2021
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Reporter Caroline Chen covers health care for ProPublica. She is currently reporting on the coronavirus pandemic. Previously, she worked at Bloomberg News, where her coverage included the unraveling of blood test maker Theranos and the 2014 Ebola outbreak. In this talk, she considers the role of journalists to provide good information and combat disinformation, especially in an environment where science and public health have become politicized. Part of a series on Truth, Skepticism, Complexity: Thinking in a Post-Truth Age.

Elvira, The Immigration Play and Workshop

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Inspired by true events, this virtual performance imagines an encounter between Elvira Arellano, a formerly undocumented Mexican woman who took sanctuary in a Chicago Methodist Church and an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officer on the day before her deportation as she struggles to avoid separation from her son Saul. This story of family, faith, immigration, and power will begin with an introduction by Elvira Arellano. At 7 p.m., students (and their families) are invited to a family-friendly “telling your story/ oral history” workshop with Jessica Carmona and Jennica Carmona-Arandia. Presented by Latin America, Latinx & Caribbean Studies with support from the McFarland Center.

Responsibilities of Social Media Companies in Repairing our Social Divisions

March 4, 2021
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Social media have undoubtedly exacerbated the current political crises in our country, and many parties want them held responsible to prevent further damage. How do we balance competing desires for platforms that protect free speech and are free from hate and disinformation? Political Science Professor Daniel Klinghard, Director of the J.D. Power Center for Liberal Arts and the World and Co-Director of the Charles Carroll Program, and Amit Taneja, Associate Provost for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, are joined by Richard Freije ’81, who is AVP and Senior Counsel at Sun Life Financial and Adjunct Instructor at Clark University and WPI teaching Cyber Law and Policy, for a discussion on regulating social media moderated by Thomas M. Landy, Director of the McFarland Center for Religion, Ethics and Culture. Part of the series on Repairing the Fabric of Our Nation.

The Destruction of Images (and Images of Their Destruction)

Aaron TugendhaftMarch 8, 2021
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Aaron Tugendhaft, author of "Idols of ISIS: From Assyria to the Internet" (University of Chicago Press, 2020), explores the power of images and the politics of iconoclasm. From Assyrian palace reliefs to videos of the destruction of images by ISIS, Tugendhaft examines this destruction (and images of it) with regard to religious and cultural pluralities, drawing connections from the ancient past to today. He teaches humanities at Bard College Berlin. The talk is presented in conjunction with the Cantor Art Gallery and its exhibition, Kevork Mourad: Memory Gates, on view March 4-April 11, 2021.

Dismantling Structural Racism: Damon Hart ‘96 and Dominic Blue ‘98 on Investing in Racial Equity

Damon Hart '96Dominic Blue '98March 9, 2021
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In 2020, Holy Cross alumni Damon P. Hart ‘96 and Dominic Blue ‘98 joined a coalition of Black and Brown executives from Massachusetts' leading corporations to form the New Commonwealth Racial Equity and Social Justice Fund to support Black and Brown communities in Boston and across the Commonwealth. The fund provides resources to non-profits to dismantle systemic racism in policing and criminal justice, health care, economic opportunity, and education. Hart, who was a political science major and starting forward on the basketball team at Holy Cross, is Executive Vice President and Deputy Chief Legal Officer of Liberty Mutual Insurance. Blue, who was a sociology major and co-captain of the football team, is now Head of MassMutual Strategic Distributors. Co-sponsored with the Ciocca Center for Business, Ethics and Society, this event is part of our Conversations with Alumni on Dismantling Structural Racism.

Conference: The Intelligentsia in Russia: Spiritual and Moral Values

March 13-14, 2021
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In preparation of their edited volume, "The Intelligentsia in Russia: Myth, Mission, Metamorphosis," Olga Partan, Associate Professor of Russian at Holy Cross, and Professor Sibelan Forrester of Swarthmore College will convene the book's contributors to present and solicit feedback on their draft work. The volume offers a multidisciplinary approach to addressing spiritual and moral missions of the Russian Intelligentsia, tracing its evolution over time from the 18th century to the post-Soviet era.

America’s Place in the World 

March 16, 2021
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How is America perceived now by leaders abroad? How do those perceptions help or hinder what we might want to achieve? Given where we've been and what we've done, what are the challenges to American leadership? What would the world be like without it? Join us for a discussion with distinguished diplomats and policy analysts including two Holy Cross alumni:

  • Retired Ambassador Harry K. Thomas Jr. ‘78, Senior Strategic Engagement Leader at Special Operations Command and former Ambassador to Zimbabwe, the Philippines and Bangladesh, former Executive Secretary and Special Assistant to Secretary Rice, and former Director General of the Foreign Service;
  • Retired U.S. Air Force Col. Robert Tomlinson Ph.D. '74, scholar in Modern Middle Eastern History and Associate Professor in National Security Affairs at the Naval Postgraduate School; along with
  • Retired Ambassador Susan Elliot, President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Committee on American Foreign Policy, former Civilian Deputy and Foreign Policy Advisor to the Commander of the United States European Command, and former Ambassador to Tajikistan; and
  • David Rank, 27-year Officer of the State Department Foreign Service, including his final assignment as Deputy Chief of Mission and, following the 2016 election, as the Charge’ d’Affaires (acting Ambassador) at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing.

Part of the series on Repairing the Fabric of Our Nation.

College Hill on Capitol Hill: How Our Alumni in Congress Would Heal the Nation

March 18, 2021
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Three Holy Cross alumni were serving in Congress during the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol and subsequent second impeachment of former President Donald Trump. Hear from Rep. Peter Welch ’69 (D-Vermont) and Rep. Mark DeSaulnier ’74 (D-California) about the political crisis we're in and how we move our country beyond. Sen. Robert Casey ’82 (D-Pennsylvania) has also been invited to participate. Featuring a special welcome by Massachusetts Congressman Jim McGovern. Part of the series on Repairing the Fabric of Our Nation.

Can Protest Really Change the Political Order: Learning from Russia, Belarus and Bulgaria

March 24, 2021
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Can protest really change the political order? This is a question many are asking in the U.S., in the months after Black Lives Matter rallies galvanized the nation. It is even more of a question outside the U.S., in the struggle against authoritarian or corrupt regimes, particularly in the post-Communist world. Thirty years ago many analysts claimed that the people, united, could challenge and transform dictatorial power. But today, the process of effecting liberal change seems far more difficult. A panel of Holy Cross faculty members Cynthia Hooper (History), Erina Megowan (History) and Nina Barzachka (Political Science) will discuss recent, daring protests in Russia, Belarus and Bulgaria to explore how people are trying to "speak truth to power" and how elites are responding. It will also look at the role of U.S. protests in inspiring both those participating in demonstrations and those in the government determined to shut them down. Co-sponsored by the McFarland Center, Russian and Eastern European Studies, and Political Science.

How Can Catholics Contribute to Restoring Public Life? 

March 25, 2021
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What does it mean to be a faithful citizen and how can our Catholic faith contribute to a healthy, vibrant polity and society? Meg Griffiths '04, Associate and Assistant Director of Programs at Essential Partners, moderates a discussion among Catholic alumni including:

  • Broderick Johnson ‘78, former Assistant to the President and Cabinet Secretary under President Barack Obama;
  • Virginia Doherty McGregor '84, recently named Treasurer of the Democratic National Committee;
  • Mark Kennedy Shriver '86, President of Save the Children Action Network and author of "Pilgrimage: My Search for the Real Pope Francis" (Random House, 2016); and
  • Yarlennys Villaman '14, Outreach Director at the Office of the Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey.

Organized with the College Chaplains. Part of the series on Repairing the Fabric of Our Nation.

A Return to Hope and Healing: Seeing Our Way through a Crisis of Our Time

April 7, 2021
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In 2005 the College of the Holy Cross partnered with the Worcester Art Museum on a landmark exhibition, Hope and Healing: Painting in Italy in a Time of Plague, 1500-1800. This show, which explored the visual culture from a period of numerous plagues, offers many lessons for today’s world. James A. Welu, Director Emeritus, Worcester Art Museum, revisits this exhibition to discuss what the work of master artists can teach us about the human condition during a time of crisis similar to our own. Meredith Fluke, Director of the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery, and David Karmon, Professor of History of Art and Architecture at Holy Cross, join to discuss what visual material will best convey to future generations how today’s society endured the current pandemic.

Lessons from Around the World in the Aftermath of Crisis

April 8, 2021 (This event was not recorded)
What can we learn from other countries’ experiences about how to rebuild a damaged, fragmented society? Holy Cross faculty share from their comparative scholarship in South Africa after apartheid (Judith Chubb, Political Science); Germany, Russia and the former Soviet Union reckoning with their pasts (Cynthia Hooper, History); Egypt after the Arab Spring (Vickie Langohr, Political Science); Latin American experience with populism, authoritarianism, democratization, and economic crises (Maria Rodrigues, Political Science); and Cambodia, Rwanda and lessons on reconstruction in the aftermath of genocide (Aditi Malik, Political Science). Part of the series on Repairing the Fabric of Our Nation.

What Future Can Conservatives Imagine to Repair Our Political Fabric?

April 12, 2021
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A healthy political future depends on the ideas and commitment of Americans across the political spectrum. This group of conservative thinkers from the Holy Cross community discusses the range of conservative ideas and policy goals that they see moving us forward:

  • Mary Clare Amselem '13, a writer and former policy analyst for the Heritage Foundation;
  • Holy Cross Political Science Professor Donald Brand;
  • Peter Flaherty '87, former Deputy Campaign Manager and Senior Advisor to Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney;
  • Holy Cross senior Marisa George '21, Co-Chair of the College Republicans; and
  • Tim Rice '16, Associate Editor of the Washington Free Beacon, who previously worked at the Manhattan Institute and later the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Part of the series on Repairing the Fabric of Our Nation.

Contagion of Hate: Pandemic and the Virus of Racism

April 13, 2021
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Kim Yi Dionne Russell JeungBetween mid-March and the end of 2020, Stop AAPI Hate received 2,808 reports of racist acts against Asian Americans. The Anti-Defamation League has also tracked numerous incidents, from anti-Asian verbal harassment in public to racist signs in different states. What does racism have to do with pandemics? The answer should be “Nothing.” Find out why it’s not, and how you can join the effort to change that. Kim Yi Dionne is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of California Riverside and author of "Doomed Interventions: The Failure of Global Responses to AIDS in Africa" (Cambridge University Press, 2018). She has written widely on the racialization of HIV/AIDS, Ebola, and most recently COVID-19. Russell Jeung is Professor and Chair in the Department of Asian American Studies at San Francisco State University and co-author of "Family Sacrifices: The Worldviews and Ethics of Chinese Americans" (Oxford University Press, 2019). In 2020, he launched “Stop AAPI Hate” to track COVID-19 related discrimination in order to develop community resources and policy interventions to fight racism. Co-sponsored by Africana Studies, Asian Studies, and the McFarland Center. Learn more»