News Releases



Civil Rights Commissioner Will Serve as Ithaca College's Distinguished Visiting Scholar in Residence

Ithaca, NY--Mary Frances Berry, chair of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, will visit Ithaca College October 22 to 26 to initiate the Ithaca College distinguished visiting scholar in residence program. Designed to bring to campus a prominent figure from the ALANA (African, Latino, Asian, Native American) community, the program will give Berry a chance to speak in classes, meet with students and faculty, and present a free public talk as part of the yearlong lecture and discussion series "Race and Its Meanings." Berry's presentation, "America in the 21st Century: Demographic Reality and Social Change," will take place on Thursday, October 25, at 7:00 p.m. in Ford Hall in the James J. Whalen Center for Music.

Trained in history and the law, Berry is the Geraldine R. Segal Professor of American Social Thought at the University of Pennsylvania. Before her appointment to the civil rights commission in 1980, she served in the Carter administration as the assistant secretary for education in the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, supervising the National Institute of Education, the Office of Education, and the Fund for the Improvement of Post-Secondary Education. Prior to her service at HEW, she was provost of the Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences at the University of Maryland at College Park, and chancellor at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

The author of seven books focusing on civil rights, feminism, and the law, Berry has appeared as a guest on numerous television shows, including "Nightline," "Face the Nation," and "Today." She received the NAACP's Roy Wilkins and Image Awards, the Rosa Parks Award of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and the "Ebony" Magazine Black Achievement Award. In 1986 "Ms." magazine honored her as one of its "women of the year."

Berry earned her bachelor's and master's degrees from Howard University. She received a doctorate in history and a juris doctorate from the University of Michigan.

During her Ithaca visit, Berry will meet informally with students and faculty as well as speak to classes taught in the areas of sport science, psychology, politics, sociology, business, and communications.

The next "Race and Its Meanings" event will take place December 4 with a screening of "Black Narcissus," a 1947 film about Anglican nuns trying to establish a religious community in the Indian Himalayas during British rule of the subcontinent.

Further events are being scheduled for the spring semester. The series is sponsored by the Ithaca College Center for the Study of Culture, Race, and Ethnicity, Office of Multicultural Affairs, and Office of the Provost, in collaboration with the "Cinema on the Edge" series in the Roy H. Park School of Communications.

A list of suggested readings about race and its meanings, including works by the series speakers, is available at www.ithaca.edu/race.