Welcome, Overview, and Keynote Address: The Presidential Challenge: Race, History, and the Urgency of Action Now

January 4, 2023

  • Eddie R. Cole portrait
    Eddie R. Cole Associate Professor of Higher Education and Organizational Change, UCLA

(Sponsored by RNL)

Welcome and Overview

Marjorie Hass, President, CIC


The Presidential Challenge: Race, History, and the Urgency of Action Now

In this keynote address, Eddie R. Cole will share the remarkable history of how college presidents helped shape the struggle for racial equality. College presidents have had tremendous power to usher racial change on their own campuses and in their broader communities and society at large. Their actions and words, as well as their inactions and silence, on issues of race drew plaudits and criticism from boards, faculty, students, alumni, and political leaders. For many presidents, these were among the most defining and difficult moral decisions of their careers. Cole will offer crucial historical perspectives for current college presidents who often must act with urgency in response to incidents that go viral in minutes. Cole demonstrates that presidential knowledge must extend beyond an institution’s formal history, and into the social “peoples’” history of a campus. This can make a crucial difference in navigating current racial issues and other challenges. Join us for this opportunity for inspiration and discernment as we reflect on how lessons from presidential leaders of the past can inform the future of independent higher education.

Chair: John R. Swallow, President, Carthage College