2014 Jan Term Speaker Series to Feature Former U.S. Poet Laureate, Alumnus Robert Hass

Robert HassSaint Mary's College announces the lineup for the 2014 January Term Speaker Series, including featured guest lecturer former U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Hass. With the theme of "Metamorphoses," the annual lecture series -which is free and open to the public- features five dynamic speakers who will explore the process of metamorphoses in areas such as sustainability in the business world, the incarceration of young people, the impact of race and gender in the newsroom, hip hop arts movement and our how our understanding of nature has changed through the lens of literature and science.

Robert Hass is one of the nation's most celebrated poets, a distinguished UC Berkeley professor, environmental activist and the author of many books of poetry, including the collection Time and Materials, which was honored with the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize. A Saint Mary's alumnus, Hass '63 is also the co-founder of the River of Words program, a 19-year old education initiative that integrates nature and the arts into K-12 classrooms nationwide, and the International Youth Creativity Awards, the largest youth poetry and art competition in the world. Hass will address the concept of metamorphosis in nature, society and art.

The series also features four other distinguished speakers, including Cheri Chastain, sustainability coordinator for the Sierra Nevada Brewing company, who will discuss how going green was the right move for the Chico-based beer company and why sustainability in business makes sense; Kevin Coval, a Chicago-based hip hop poet, writer, educator and public radio contributor, will discuss identity and expression in the hip hop arts movement; Richard Ross, photographer, professor and activist will discuss his visual project documenting the nation's juvenile justice system ;  and Geraldine Moriba, CNN executive producer and vice president for diversity and inclusion  will  offer a lecture on the evolving state of gender  and race in the newsroom.

Cost / Location: All lectures are free and open to the public and, unless otherwise noted, will be in the Soda Activity Center at Saint Mary's College of California, 1928 St. Mary's Road, Moraga, CA 94556.

 Speaker Series Schedule: 

Cheri Chastain7 p.m. Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Cheri Chastain
"Brewing a Successful Sustainability Program"
Cheri Chastain, Sustainability Coordinator for Sierra Nevada Brewing company will discuss Sierra Nevada's award-winning sustainability practices as they relate to energy, water, landfill diversion, transportation, and agriculture, with special emphasis on how Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. makes the business case for sustainability programs. In the midst of all the talk (some honest, some not) about "going green," Chastain will share some of the challenges and successes Sierra Nevada has encountered along the way and why it makes good business sense to consider the environmental impacts a business makes. Following her lecture, Chastain will join a panel of Saint Mary's professors to discuss the science and economics of sustainability in the business world.

Kevin Coval7 p.m. Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Kevin Coval
"Socially Engaged Arts and Hip Hop Poetics" 
Kevin Coval, a Chicago-based writer, educator, nonprofit director, public radio contributor and community organizer, will read from his work and lead a discussion, along with student readers and participants, on "Socially Engaged Arts and Hip Hop Poetics." Additionally, in the afternoon prior to this evening event, Kevin will present a workshop entitled "What's My Name Fool: Malcolm X, Muhammad Ali and Hip Hop Superheroes" focusing on naming and identity, exploring how individuals in communities are misnamed in society and how artists and intellectuals have resisted misidentification by adopting nom de plumes and heteronyms.

Richard Ross7 p.m. Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Richard Ross
"Juvenile In Justice: Art, Journalism, Sociology and Criminal Justice"
Richard Ross, photographer, researcher, professor and activist, will present on "Juvenile In Justice," his current multidimensional project examining the US juvenile justice system. Seven years in the making, the project includes more than 1,000 kids in detention in 31 states and sits at the nexus of art, journalism, sociology and criminal justice. Ross introduces us to kids with the least voice, from families with the least resources in neighborhoods with the least power. Ross uses his artistic work to effect social change, advocate for public policy changes and has presented his work before U.S. Senate Committees and the U.S. Supreme Court.

Geraldine Moriba7 p.m. Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Geraldine Moriba
"Gender, race, and the metamorphosis of the news industry"
Geraldine Moriba is an Emmy award-winning executive producer of CNN's "In America" unit and vice president for diversity and inclusion at CNN Worldwide. Her talk will address gender and race in the newsroom and how those factors contribute to the way news is covered in world of journalism.

7 p.m. Thursday, January 30, 2014

Robert Hass
"Thinking About Ovid in the 21st Century: Metamorphosis, Myth, and the Carbon Cycle"
Robert Hass is a world-renowned poet, environmental activist, educator, alumnus of Saint Mary's and former U.S. poet laureate. Hass will speak on concepts of metamorphosis in nature, society, and art. On the subject of his talk, entitled "Thinking about Ovid in the 21st Century: Metamorphosis, Myth, and the Carbon Cycle," Hass writes "Nature is about change; both literature and science try to understand it, so it is interesting to hold up Ovid's magical stories of mythic transformation to modern literature, the development of ecology, and 21st-century imperatives. We can't speak about community anymore, nor community service, without talking about all of life."

Background: January Term, or "Jan Term" for short, is an intensive four-week academic experience at Saint Mary's where students are encouraged to step out of their comfort zones, explore new intellectual territory and take classes that embody the Lasallian tradition of social action. A hallmark of the session is the Speaker Series, which brings provocative speakers from the worlds of art, politics, science and technology to the campus. During the day visiting speakers meet with several classes, engage in lively roundtable discussions with students and present their ideas to the entire community at a free public lecture in the evening.

The College's innovative Jan Term session is one of the reasons Saint Mary's was recognized in the prestigious higher-ed guidebook "Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About Colleges." The publication is widely recognized as essential reading for college-bound students, and by discerning parents, to identify colleges that offer life-transforming educational experiences. Saint Mary's is the only Catholic college, the only California college and the only Division I institution of higher education in the history of the 40-school list.

For more information, check out the Speaker Series online or contact the Jan Term office at (925) 631-4771 or janterm@stmarys-ca.edu or the office of Media Relations at media@stmarys-ca.edu or (925) 631-4222.


Michael McAlpin
Director of Media Relations
(925) 631-4222 office
(925) 878-9535 cell

About SMC
The Saint Mary’s College of California experience inspires learning that lasts a lifetime. For 150 years, the College has provided students with a rigorous education that engages their intellect and spirit, and awakens a desire to transform society. Guided by the Christian Brothers, the Catholic Church’s oldest order dedicated exclusively to teaching, the College enrolls more than 4,100 students in undergraduate and graduate liberal arts and business programs. For more information visit Saint Mary’s College at stmarys-ca.edu and just 23 miles east of San Francisco.