Shows & Tickets

Calvin University January Series

Loading Events
  • This event has passed.

Calvin University January Series


January 8, 2020 // 12:30 pm
January 28, 2020 // 12:30 pm


Calvin University & The Community Foundation for Muskegon County


Beardsley Theater

Tickets: FREE, no ticket required

Welcome to the January Series of Calvin University

The January Series cultivates deep thought and conversations about important issues of the day in order to inspire cultural renewal and make us better global citizens in God’s world.

We invite you to join us in the Beardsley Theater at the Frauenthal Center as a remote location for this FREE 15-day lecture series.  The series takes place each January on the campus of Calvin University weekdays January 8–28, 2020 from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. EST.

2020 Speaker Line Up:

Wednesday, January 8:  Amber Warners
“Leadership Lessons Learned from Coaching” 

Amber Warners is in her 18th year as head coach of the Calvin volleyball program. As Calvin’s head coach, she has compiled a record of 541-87 for a winning percentage of .874 that ranks as the leading win percentage amongst active NCAA Division III women’s volleyball coaches. Under Warners the Knights have won three national championships, in 2010, 2013 and 2016. Warners is a four-time AVCA Division III National Coach of the Year (2010, 2012, 2013 and 2014).  Off the court, Dr. Warners has connected her love of volleyball with her degree is sports psychology. She has created a technology to help players develop their game. The device captures a player’s thoughts out loud and also allows them to receive feedback during practice. Warners has traveled around the country to work with some of the nation’s best players from six Division I teams on their home courts—and continues to research what makes a volleyball player – and people – tick.


Thursday, January 9:  Todd Charles Wood & Darrel R. Falk
“The Fool and the Heretic: How Two Scientists Moved Beyond Labels to a Christian Dialogue about Creation and Evolution”

A deeply personal story of two respected scientists who hold opposing views on the topic of origins, share a common faith in Jesus Christ, and began a sometimes-painful journey to explore how they can remain in Christian fellowship when each thinks the other is harming the church.  These two scientists
– one a theistic evolutionist and the other a six-day creationist – provide a model for how faithful Christians can hold opposing views on deeply divisive issues yet grow deeper in their relationship with each other and to God.


Friday, January 10: Sandra Postel
“Replenish: The Virtuous Cycle of Water and Prosperity”

A leading authority and prolific author on global water issues, Sandra has been hailed for her “inspiring, innovative and practical approach” to promoting the preservation and sustainable use of freshwater.  She directs the independent Global Water Policy Project, based in New Mexico, and is the
co-creator of Change the Course, a national water stewardship initiative which brings together the public, the business community, and on-the-ground conservation organizations to transform the way society uses, manages, and values freshwater. A Pew Scholar in Conservation and the Environment and a Fellow of the Post Carbon Institute, Sandra has been named one of the Scientific American 50. She appears in the BBC’s Planet Earth and Leonardo DiCaprio’s The 11th Hour.


Monday, January 13:  Jonathan Haidt
“The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas are Setting up a Generation for Failure”

Jonathan Haidt is a social psychologist at New York University’s Stern School of Business. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1992, and taught for 16 years in the department of psychology at the University of Virginia. Haidt’s research examines the intuitive foundations of morality, and how morality varies across cultures––including the cultures of American progressive, conservatives, and libertarians. Haidt is the author of three books:  The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom; The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion; and The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas are Setting Up a Generation for Failure (co-authored with Greg Lukianoff). The last two books each became New York Times bestsellers.


Tuesday, January 14:  Cathy O’Neil
“Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy”

Cathy O’Neil earned a Ph.D. in math from Harvard, was a postdoc at the MIT math department, and a professor at Barnard College where she published a number of research papers in arithmetic algebraic geometry. She then switched over to the private sector, working as a quant for the hedge fund D.E. Shaw in the middle of the credit crisis, and then for RiskMetrics, a risk software company that assesses risk for the holdings of hedge funds and banks. She left finance in 2011 and started working as a data scientist in the New York start-up scene, building models that predicted people’s purchases and clicks. She wrote Doing Data Science in 2013 and launched the Lede Program in Data Journalism at Columbia in 2014. She is a regular contributor to Bloomberg View and wrote the book Weapons of Math Destruction: how big data increases inequality and threatens democracy. She recently founded ORCAA, an algorithmic auditing company that helps companies and organizations manage and audit their algorithms on the basis of accuracy, bias and fairness.


Wednesday, January 15: Deborah & James Fallows
Our Towns: A 100,000 Mile Journey into the Heart of America”

James, a writer for the Atlantic, and Deborah, a linguist and writer, spent five years visiting small towns and cities in America, flying a modest propeller airplane, to capture firsthand a surprising portrait of the civic and economic reinvention happening across the country, outside the spotlight of national media.  The result was Our Towns, the bestselling book Publishers Weekly called “an eye-opening, keenly optimistic reminder of the strength of America’s vital center.”  It is a tonic for what ails us as a nation, a captivating story of energy and renewal across the land.


Thursday, January 16:  The 5 Browns in Concert

The 5 Browns – Ryan, Melody, Gregory, Deondra and Desirae – all attended New York’s Juilliard School. In fact, they became the first family of five siblings ever accepted simultaneously. The piano playing quintet enjoyed their first wave of critical attention in February 2002 when People magazine dubbed them the “Fab Five” at about the same time they were featured on Oprah and 60 Minutes. The 5 Browns have released 3 CDs that each went to #1 on Billboard Magazine’s Classical Album Chart. The New York Post has proclaimed: “One family, five pianos and 50 fingers add up to the biggest classical music sensation in years.”  The 5 Browns tour extensively and have performed in numerous venues including Carnegie Hall’s Isaac Stern Auditorium, Grand National Theater in China, and Suntory Hall in Japan.


Friday, January 17:   Bob Fu
“When Caesar Demands to be God: Religious Freedom in China”

Bob (Xiqiu) Fu is one of the leading voices in the world for persecuted faith communities in China. Fu was born and raised in mainland China and was a student leader during the Tiananmen Square demonstrations for freedom and democracy in 1989. A former dissident and pastor of an illegal underground church in Beijing, Bob and his wife Heidi fled to the United States as religious refugees in 1997. He founded ChinaAid in 2002 to bring international attention to China’s gross human rights violations and to promote religious freedom and rule of law in China.  He has served as a distinguished professor on religion and public policy at Midwest University, is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and serves as the Editor-in-Chief of the Chinese Law and Religion Monitor.


Monday, January 20:  Alice Marie Johnson – in celebration of MLK day
“After Life: My Journey from Incarceration to Freedom”

In 1996 Alice Johnson was convicted of nonviolent drug trafficking in Memphis, Tennessee and sentenced to life in prison under the mandatory sentencing laws of the time.  After she served twenty- one years, her life sentence was commuted in 2018 by President Donald Trump, with the help of Kim Kardashian West.  An ordained minister, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother, Johnson shares her dramatic story of hope, mercy and gratitude while making the public aware of the realities of life behind bars and the importance of the ongoing struggle to end mass incarceration.  Her story is a vital reminder of the power of redemption and of the importance of making second chances count.


Tuesday, January 21:  Mitch Albom
“Finding Chicka: A Little Girl, an Earthquake, and the Making of a Family”

Author, columnist, radio host, and philanthropist Mitch Albom is an inspiration around the world. His books, including the New York Times Bestselling Tuesdays with Morrie, have sold over 39 million copies and have been translated into over 45 languages.  While nationally recognized for his sports writing at the Detroit Press, Albom is perhaps best known for the themes of hope and kindness that weave through his books, plays, and films. In his talks and presentations, he brings the same inspiring message of community building, giving, and purpose.  He is the founder of 10 charities, nine in Detroit and one in Haiti.  His latest book, Finding Chicka, marks his return to nonfiction for the first time in more than a decade as a memoir that celebrates Chika, a young Haitian orphan whose short life would forever change his heart. It is a book about the making of a family and our responsibility to abandoned children worldwide.


Wednesday, January 22:  Ann Compton
“Up Close and Very Personal: My 41 Years in the White House Press Corps

Ann Compton is a distinguished and highly respected veteran of the White House press corps.  She joined ABC News in 1973 and was the first woman assigned to cover the White House by a television network. From her front seat at the White House for ABC News, Compton covered seven presidents as well as innumerable life-changing and globe-altering events – from the end of the Cold War to 9-11 to the political dramas that made the daily headlines. With her personal access for over four decades she is well equipped to provide audiences a historical perspective of the presidency and insights into today’s global events and daily headlines.


Thursday, January 23: Jeremy Everett
“I Was Hungry: A Call to End Hunger in America”

Jeremy Everett is the founder and executive director of the Texas Hunger Initiative, an organization that partners with the United States Department of Agriculture, Texas state agencies, the corporate sector, and thousands of faith- and community-based organizations to develop and implement strategies to alleviate hunger through policy, education, research, and community organizing. A noted advocate for the hungry, he served on the National Commission on Hunger, has spent over two decades ministering to the poor, and frequently speaks on poverty, hunger, community development, and social entrepreneurship. Everett regularly writes for HuffPost and has been featured in PBS documentaries, in newspapers such as the Dallas Morning News, and on talk shows.


Friday, January 24:  Johan Norberg
Progress: 10 Reasons to Look Forward to the Future”

Johan Norberg is an author, lecturer, documentary filmmaker, and a native of Sweden.  He lectures about entrepreneurship, global trends and globalization around the world. He is a frequent commentator in Swedish and international media, and has a regular column in Sweden’s biggest daily, Metro.  The 15 books he has written and the 3 books he has edited cover a broad range of topics, including global economics, intellectual history and the science of happiness.  Norberg is a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute in Washington D.C., and a Senior Fellow at the European Centre for International Political Economy in Brussels.  According to the daily news our world seems to be collapsing: divisive politics across the Western world, racism, poverty, war, inequality, hunger. Whilepoliticians, journalists and activists from all sides talk about the damage done, Johan Norberg, in his book Progress, offers an illuminating and heartening analysis of just how far we have come in tackling the greatest problems facing humanity. In the face of fear-mongering, darkness and division, the facts are unequivocal: the golden age is now and the future is bright.


Monday, January 27:  Karen Gonzalez
“The God Who Sees: Immigrants, the Bible, and the Journey to Belong”

Karen Gonzalez is an immigrant from Guatemala, now living in Baltimore, Maryland, where she enjoys writing, cooking Latin food, traveling, and watching baseball (in that order). Karen is a former public school teacher and attended Fuller Theological Seminary, where she studied theology and missiology. For the last 10 years, she has been a non-profit professional, currently working for World Relief serving immigrants and refugees. Her book The God Who Sees is the story of her own immigration story intertwined with the stories of many of the immigrants found in the Bible.


Tuesday, January 28:  Najla Kassab
“The Reformed Church in the World Today”

Najla Kassab Abousawan is the president of the World Communion of Reformed Churches and is an ordained minister in the National Evangelical Synod of Syria and Lebanon (NESSL).  She obtained her B.A. in Christian education from the Near East School of Theology and her M.Div. from Princeton Theology Seminary.  In 1993 she received the first preaching license offered to a woman by the NESSL and in 2017 she became the second women to be ordained as a minister in NESSL.  She has worked for two-and-a-half decades with NESSL’s women and children’s ministries, including as Director of Christian Education.  She was elected to the WCRC Executive Committee at the 2010 Uniting General Council.  She lives with her husband and 3 children in Beirut, but her work takes her frequently to Syria.