Providing Students Access to Education: Lisa and James Mooney III ’90 Explain Why They Give

February 1st, 2017 by 


James F. Mooney III ’90 and Lisa M. Mooney have committed to endow ten full scholarships, which together will be known as The “Brooks Fellows” Scholarship Fund. The scholarship fund will support the enrollment of students who have less than full access to the American higher education system and whom the College has a need and a desire to enroll. Criteria for selection of Brooks Fellows include: outstanding academic performance, financial aid need that can’t be met with federal money, and an attractive or unique feature that elevates the Holy Cross community.

Holy Cross sat down with James and Lisa to find out what drives their continued commitment to supporting Holy Cross and its students:

The majority of your giving has centered on scholarship and financial aid. Why this focus? What are you trying to accomplish?

JIM: If you consider it at the highest level, financial aid is essential to the success of private education: elementary, secondary and college. Without it, the system wouldn’t function. If you think about a school populated only with full-pay students — that is not a very vibrant or diverse place and certainly not a place that is likely to have a particularly energizing mission. The availability of scholarships also gives the admissions office the ability to build a more dynamic class. So, in the big picture, our focus on financial aid is in response to an unambiguous and critical need. However, when you think about it less abstractly, an individual scholarship is a life-changing thing for a student. With scholarships, Lisa and I feel like we can have an impact in a very tangible and personal way. We really love the idea that we are able to help someone become who he or she was meant to be. So, while it’s easy to justify supporting financial aid at a macro level, it’s the micro impact that really appeals to us.

Perhaps the most compelling example of the power of financial aid is Father Brooks’ decision to offer scholarships to 20 African-American students in 1968. Everyone knows the story, and nobody would dispute the fact that those scholarships changed the lives of the 20 men who received them or that those men changed Holy Cross. Indeed, the scholarships that Lisa and I are creating are inspired by Father Brooks and are named for him.

We started with the simple question, “If Father Brooks were getting in his car today with a handful of scholarships and the intention to give them to highly-deserving kids who would never be at Holy Cross without them and who have the chance to change the school … where would he go?” After a lot of discussion, and a bold suggestion by Fr. Boroughs, we settled on the idea of supporting kids who don’t have access to traditional financial aid, i.e., kids from undocumented families. The idea resonated immediately. It addresses an obvious need, it embraces a marginalized community and it falls right at the core of Holy Cross’ mission. We are incredibly proud to be associated with this effort and we hope Father Brooks would see it as a confirmation of his vision.

Do you involve family in choosing which causes to support?

LISA: Jim and I are beginning to. Our kids are still a bit young to fully participate in the decision process, but we are doing everything we can to instill in them the idea that giving is an essential part of our life and that giving will be an essential part of their lives. We are also trying to help them understand that they are going to have to choose among many worthy causes by sharing with them how we attempt to set our priorities. We have stressed to our kids that the pleasure you get from the coolest thing you ever buy for yourself will not compare with the pleasure you get from supporting organizations and causes you care about. It’s not even close. We want them to see giving as a joy, which it truly is, not as an obligation. Hopefully when they see us give, they see us doing it with great satisfaction and as an expression of gratitude for all that we have been given.

With so many deserving causes in the world, why Holy Cross?

JIM: It is certainly true that there are many deserving causes. Because of that, you have to make peace with the fact that you can’t do everything. The best advice I ever got regarding philanthropy is: pick what is important to you and make that your focus. Lisa and I have chosen to focus on two areas — Catholic education and children’s health. Perhaps that is because our philanthropy began to take its shape at a time when our own children were growing up. We have really put our focus there and never looked back. With respect to why we have prioritized Holy Cross, it is, obviously, a reflection of the experience I had as a student. However, at a higher level, I really do believe that Holy Cross produces graduates that make the world a better place. I recognize that is a somewhat immodest statement, but I believe it. So, if we can make it possible for a kid to go to Holy Cross who otherwise wouldn’t have been able to go, then we did a good thing, not only for the kid but also for the world around that kid.

What meaning and satisfaction do you derive from your philanthropy?

LISA: We view philanthropy as one of the great privileges of our life. Too often, people view philanthropy as a selfless act: giving something when you are not obligated to give. We don’t see it that way at all. Jim and I derive a great deal of satisfaction from giving; it’s really an honor to be asked to give and to be able to give. It’s very much a two-way street in our minds. What a wonderful thing to be able to help…it’s humbling and joyful.
How did Holy Cross shape you?

JIM: I think Holy Cross probably shaped me more than I knew at the time. My education certainly taught me how to think: analytically, critically and morally, and it is fair to say that my Jesuit education has always been a north star, of sorts. Interestingly, I would argue that Holy Cross isn’t done shaping me. I am certain that my service on the board has created a greater closeness to the school and given me a much deeper appreciation of Holy Cross’ mission and, frankly, why it is a really important place. In fact, I probably try harder to live up to Jesuit ideals today than when I graduated. I guess the point is that my Holy Cross education is still growing in me and its importance to my life has become much clearer over time. If you embrace what the school is all about, your education is never really done.

The “Brooks Fellow” Scholarship Fund is the third scholarship fund that Jim and Lisa have set up at the College. The first was a scholarship endowed by Jim and his father, Jim ’52, in honor of his mother, Joan. The second was the Jim and Lisa Mooney Scholarships, established to meet the needs of middle income families whose children have been educated in the Catholic schools and who do not qualify for aid as calculated by federal formulas, but who could not afford a Holy Cross education without assistance.

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PRESENTERS:Ifrad Islam, Associate Director of Healthcare Economics at Optum (UnitedHealth...
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Stickwork: Patrick Dougherty, "Just Off the Beaten Track," 2016
9/24/2017
Arts Transcending Borders (ATB)
Lawn by Linden Lane
In September 2016, Arts Transcending Borders (ATB), in association with the Cantor...
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GE Meet & Greet Session
9/25/2017
Center for Career Development
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center 304(05)
Come meet with GE to learn more about their internship program.Selected...
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Christie's Education Graduate Art Program Information Session
9/25/2017
Center for Career Development
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center 406
Come learn about Christie's Education, of Christie's Auction House,...
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Gabrielle Thierry: The Musicality of the Water Lilies
9/25/2017
Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery
O'Kane Hall Cantor Art Gallery
The Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery will present the paintings...
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Stickwork: Patrick Dougherty, "Just Off the Beaten Track," 2016
9/25/2017
Arts Transcending Borders (ATB)
Lawn by Linden Lane
In September 2016, Arts Transcending Borders (ATB), in association with the Cantor...
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7 C's of Social Change Part 2
9/26/2017
Office of Multicultural Education
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center 401
Open to Campus Community Only
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Gabrielle Thierry: The Musicality of the Water Lilies
9/26/2017
Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery
O'Kane Hall Cantor Art Gallery
The Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery will present the paintings...
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GE On-Campus Recruiting
9/26/2017
Center for Career Development
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center 404
Visit Crusader Connections to learn more about opportunities at GE...
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Stickwork: Patrick Dougherty, "Just Off the Beaten Track," 2016
9/26/2017
Arts Transcending Borders (ATB)
Lawn by Linden Lane
In September 2016, Arts Transcending Borders (ATB), in association with the Cantor...
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Nielsen Meet & Greet
9/27/2017
Center for Career Development
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center 406
Meet & Greet to learn about the Nielsen Company and finance internships...
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Meredith Terretta Lecture
9/27/2017
Africana Studies
Smith Laboratories 154
Open to the Public
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Gabrielle Thierry: The Musicality of the Water Lilies
9/27/2017
Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery
O'Kane Hall Cantor Art Gallery
The Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery will present the paintings...
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Putnam Investments On-Campus Interviews
9/27/2017
Center for Career Development
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center 405
Apply in Crusader Connections for opportunities with Putnam Investments!...
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Stickwork: Patrick Dougherty, "Just Off the Beaten Track," 2016
9/27/2017
Arts Transcending Borders (ATB)
Lawn by Linden Lane
In September 2016, Arts Transcending Borders (ATB), in association with the Cantor...
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Environmental Studies Alumni Career Panel
9/28/2017
Center for Career Development
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center 408(09)
Come hear Holy Cross Environmental Studies alums talk about their...
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Gabrielle Thierry: The Musicality of the Water Lilies
9/28/2017
Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery
O'Kane Hall Cantor Art Gallery
The Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery will present the paintings...
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Stickwork: Patrick Dougherty, "Just Off the Beaten Track," 2016
9/28/2017
Arts Transcending Borders (ATB)
Lawn by Linden Lane
In September 2016, Arts Transcending Borders (ATB), in association with the Cantor...
See More >>


Gabrielle Thierry: The Musicality of the Water Lilies
9/29/2017
Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery
O'Kane Hall Cantor Art Gallery
The Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery will present the paintings...
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Stickwork: Patrick Dougherty, "Just Off the Beaten Track," 2016
9/29/2017
Arts Transcending Borders (ATB)
Lawn by Linden Lane
In September 2016, Arts Transcending Borders (ATB), in association with the Cantor...
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Gabrielle Thierry: The Musicality of the Water Lilies
9/30/2017
Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery Open to the Public
O'Kane Hall Cantor Art Gallery 2
The Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery will present the paintings...
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Stickwork: Patrick Dougherty, "Just Off the Beaten Track," 2016
9/30/2017
Arts Transcending Borders (ATB)
Lawn by Linden Lane
In September 2016, Arts Transcending Borders (ATB), in association with the Cantor...
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Male Involvement Coalition (MIC)
10/2/2017
Office of Multicultural Education
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center 320
Open to Campus Community Only
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Women in Finance Panel & Networking Event
10/2/2017
Center for Career Development
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center Suite A/B/C -4th Fl
Hors d'oeuvres and networking following by an alumnae...
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Gabrielle Thierry: The Musicality of the Water Lilies
10/2/2017
Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery
O'Kane Hall Cantor Art Gallery
The Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery will present the paintings...
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Deloitte On-Campus Interviews
10/2/2017
Center for Career Development
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center 404
Visit Crusader Connections to learn more about opportunities at Deloitte...
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National Depression Screening Day
10/3/2017
Counseling Center
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center Lobby Table 5
Open to Campus Community Only
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National Depression Screening Day
10/3/2017
Counseling Center
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center Lobby Table 4
Open to Campus Community Only
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National Depression Screening Day
10/3/2017
Counseling Center
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center Lobby Table 3
Open to Campus Community Only
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National Depression Screening Day
10/3/2017
Counseling Center
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center Lobby Table 2
Open to Campus Community Only
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Gabrielle Thierry: The Musicality of the Water Lilies
10/3/2017
Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery
O'Kane Hall Cantor Art Gallery
The Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery will present the paintings...
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RSM On-Campus Recruiting
10/3/2017
Center for Career Development
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center 407
Apply in Crusader Connections for opportunities with RSM! Open to Campus...
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RSM On-Campus Recruiting
10/3/2017
Center for Career Development
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center 408
Apply in Crusader Connections for opportunities with RSM! Open to Campus...
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Lecture: Julie Rubio on Hope for Common Ground
10/4/2017
McFarland Center for Religion
Carol and Park B. Smith Hall Rehm Lib
In the current political climate, common ground can seem impossible...
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7 C's of Social Change (Event canceled)
10/4/2017
Office of Multicultural Education
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center 304(05)
Open to Campus Community Only
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Gabrielle Thierry: The Musicality of the Water Lilies
10/4/2017
Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery
O'Kane Hall Cantor Art Gallery
The Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery will present the paintings...
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Silicon Valley Bank On-Campus Interviews
10/4/2017
Center for Career Development
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center 405
Apply in Crusader Connections for opportunities with Silicon Valley...
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Race: The Power of an Illusion Part 2
10/5/2017
Office of Multicultural Education
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center 519
*Episode II – “The Story We Tell” uncovers the roots...
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Gabrielle Thierry: The Musicality of the Water Lilies
10/5/2017
Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery
O'Kane Hall Cantor Art Gallery
The Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery will present the paintings...
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EY On-Campus Interviews
10/5/2017
Center for Career Development
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center 403
Apply in Crusader Connections to interview on campus with EY! Open...
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EY On-Campus Interviews
10/5/2017
Center for Career Development
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center 407
Apply in Crusader Connections to interview on campus with EY! Open...
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EY On-Campus Interviews
10/5/2017
Center for Career Development
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center 406
Apply in Crusader Connections to interview on campus with EY! Open...
See More >>


EY On-Campus Interviews
10/5/2017
Center for Career Development
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center 405
Apply in Crusader Connections to interview on campus with EY! Open...
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Gabrielle Thierry: The Musicality of the Water Lilies
10/6/2017
Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery
O'Kane Hall Cantor Art Gallery
The Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery will present the paintings...
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Gabrielle Thierry: The Musicality of the Water Lilies
10/7/2017
Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery Open to the Public
O'Kane Hall Cantor Art Gallery 2
The Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery will present the paintings...
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Finance Boot Camp 2017
10/9/2017
COES Professional Program & Prebusiness Program
Edith Stein Hall 208
Open to Campus Community Only
See More >>


Finance Boot Camp 2017
10/10/2017
COES Professional Program & Prebusiness Program
Smith Laboratories 155
Open to Campus Community Only
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Male Involvement Coalition (MIC)
10/16/2017
Office of Multicultural Education
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center 320
Open to Campus Community Only
See More >>


Lecture: Seth Stephens-Davidowitz on Googling for Hate
10/16/2017
McFarland Center for Religion
Carol and Park B. Smith Hall Rehm Lib
Open to the Public
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Lecture: Kevin Esvelt on Gene Editing
10/16/2017
McFarland Center for Religion
Kimball Hall Seelos Theater
When should we edit nature? Kevin Esvelt, assistant professor of M.I.T....
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Carney, Sandoe & Assoc. Info Session
10/16/2017
Center for Career Development
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center 304
Learn more about K-12 Teaching and Administrative positions at private...
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Lecture: Richard Higgins '74 on the Riddle of Thoreau's Religion
10/17/2017
McFarland Center for Religion
Carol and Park B. Smith Hall Rehm Lib
Holy Cross alumnus Richard Higgins '74 will give a talk titled,...
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Carney, Sandoe & Assoc. On-Campus Interviews
10/17/2017
Center for Career Development
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center 404
Apply in Crusader Connections for K-12 Teaching and Administrative...
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Reading by Adrian Nicole LeBlanc
10/18/2017
English
Carol and Park B. Smith Hall Rehm Lib
Open to the Public
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William James College Info Session - Careers in Psychology and Behavioral Health
10/18/2017
Center for Career Development
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center 407
Come to this info session presented by Dr. Bruce Ecker of William James...
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Conference: Rethinking the Afropolitan
10/19/2017
McFarland Center for Religion
Carol and Park B. Smith Hall Rehm Lib
This conference, being held Oct. 19-21, "Rethinking the Afropolitan:...
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Fidelity Investments On-Campus Recruiting
10/20/2017
Center for Career Development
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center 404
Visit Crusader Connections to learn more about and apply for opportunities...
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Fidelity Investments On-Campus Recruiting
10/20/2017
Center for Career Development
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center 405
Visit Crusader Connections to learn more about and apply for opportunities...
See More >>


Conference: Rethinking the Afropolitan
10/20/2017
McFarland Center for Religion
Carol and Park B. Smith Hall Rehm Lib
This conference, being held Oct. 19-21, "Rethinking the Afropolitan:...
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Conference: Rethinking the Afropolitan
10/21/2017
McFarland Center for Religion
Carol and Park B. Smith Hall Rehm Lib
This conference, being held Oct. 19-21, "Rethinking the Afropolitan:...
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COES Dinner
10/23/2017
COES Professional Program & Prebusiness Program
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center Suite A - 4th Fl
Open to Campus Community Only
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Book Launch: Cambridge Encyclopedia of the Jesuits
10/23/2017
McFarland Center for Religion
Carol and Park B. Smith Hall Rehm Lib
Help us commemorate the newly published Cambridge Encyclopedia...
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Athlete Alumni Networking Night
10/24/2017
Center for Career Development
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center Suite B/C - 4th Fl
The Holy Cross Career Crusaders Networking Night is...
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Athlete Alumni Networking Night
10/24/2017
Center for Career Development
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center Suite A - 4th Fl
The Holy Cross Career Crusaders Networking Night is a...
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Lecture: Charles Camosy Looks Beyond the Abortion Wars
10/24/2017
McFarland Center for Religion
Carol and Park B. Smith Hall Rehm Lib
Charles Camosy, associate professor of theology at Fordham University,...
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Washington Semester Program Information Session
10/24/2017
Center for Interdisciplinary Studies
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center 401
The Washington Semester Program is a highly competitive, semester-long...
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Open Enrollment Assistance
10/24/2017
Human Resources
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center 410 - Computer Lab
Open to Campus Community Only
See More >>


7 C's of Social Change
10/31/2017
Office of Multicultural Education
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center 320
Open to Campus Community Only
See More >>


Lecture: Alan Rosen on Jewish Religious Life and Practice During the Holocaust
11/1/2017
McFarland Center for Religion
Carol and Park B. Smith Hall Rehm Lib
Alan Rosen, Kraft-Hiatt scholar-in-residence, will give a talk...
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Poetry Reading by Gabrielle Calvocoressi
11/2/2017
English
Carol and Park B. Smith Hall Rehm Lib
Open to the Public
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Black Student Union Presents "Griot"
11/3/2017
Office of Multicultural Education
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center Ballroom & Dunn Rcpt
Open to the Public
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Open Enrollment Assistance
11/3/2017
Human Resources
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center 410 - Computer Lab
Open to Campus Community Only
See More >>


Lecture: Seth Stephens-Davidowitz on Googling for Hate
11/6/2017
McFarland Center for Religion
Carol and Park B. Smith Hall Rehm Lib
Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, a former Google data scientist and author...
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Creating an Inclusive Campus: Skills and Practice
11/6/2017
Office of Diversity and Inclusion
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center 402(03)
This workshop will take diversity and inclusion from theory to...
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Race: The Power of an Illusion Part 3
11/10/2017
Office of Multicultural Education
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center 519
*Episode III – “The House We Live In” focuses not...
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Matthew Hughey Lecture
11/13/2017
Africana Studies
Carol and Park B. Smith Hall Rehm Lib
Open to the Public
See More >>


Thuy Linh Nguyen Tu (Event canceled)
11/15/2017
Asian Studies
Dinand Library Levis Browsing Room
Open to the Public
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Conference: Religion, Protest, and Social Upheaval
11/15/2017
McFarland Center for Religion
Carol and Park B. Smith Hall Rehm Lib
The recent proliferation of social, political, and economic protest...
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"I Can't Remember What I Just Read!"
11/16/2017
Academic Services and Learning Resources
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center 406(07)
Learn strategies to focus your attention and get more out of the...
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Conference: Religion, Protest, and Social Upheaval
11/16/2017
McFarland Center for Religion
Carol and Park B. Smith Hall Rehm Lib
The recent proliferation of social, political, and economic protest...
See More >>


Conference: Religion, Protest, and Social Upheaval
11/17/2017
McFarland Center for Religion
Carol and Park B. Smith Hall Rehm Lib
The recent proliferation of social, political, and economic protest...
See More >>


Open Enrollment Assistance
11/21/2017
Human Resources
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center 410 - Computer Lab
Open to Campus Community Only
See More >>


Study Smarter, Not Harder!
11/28/2017
Academic Services and Learning Resources
Henry M. Hogan Campus Center 408(09)
Why is it so hard to remember what you just heard in lecture or...
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Lecture: Quayshawn Spencer on a Radical Solution to the Race Problem
12/1/2017
Philosophy
Carol and Park B. Smith Hall Rehm Lib
Quayshawn Spencer, assistant professor of philosophy at the University...
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See All