Newly renamed the Witt Series, the annual lineup of featured guests begins with the Opening Convocation at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 29, in Wittenberg's Weaver Chapel. Mark Hanson, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), will present the keynote address.
Hanson's address, titled Service and Engagement in the World: A Lutheran Tradition, will equip students and faculty members alike with a stronger sense of connectivity to the Lutheran identity on which Wittenberg prides itself. Prior to his tenure as bishop, Hanson served in many capacities, including pastor of three Minnesota churches, president of the Minnesota Council of Churches, vice president of the Lutheran World Federation, and vice chair of the ELCA Conference of Bishops.
Hanson is the first of five lecturers who will speak on campus as part of the 2007-08 Witt Series. The rest of the schedule includes Marcia McNutt, president and chief executive officer of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute; Brigitte Gabriel, founder of the American Congress for Truth Organization; Mark Swanson, professor of Christian-Muslim Studies and Interfaith Relations at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago; and Lani Guinier, Bennet Boskey professor of law at Harvard University.
"These speakers and performers add to a classroom, a peer debate or a faculty conversation," said Carolyn Kearns, special projects and office coordinator of Arts Interface in Springfield and coordinator of the 2007-08 Witt Series. "The diverse Witt Series events can change our perspectives, understanding and compassion for the world around us."
Along with the impressive group of lecturers, the 2007-08 Witt Series includes a variety of artistically-driven performances from the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company (DCDC), improvisational comedy troupe The Second City Touring Company, former poet laureate Billy Collins and the Beaux Arts Trio. In addition, the annual Festival Choral Eucharist for the Reformation in October and Lessons and Carols for Advent in December are on the 2007-08 Witt Series calendar.
"It is such a gift for every discipline, interest and background, because there is something for everyone with each Witt Series event," Kearns said. "I think our direction and hope lie in the same place with each year we work on the Witt Series – and that is to reach the Wittenberg and Springfield communities through these events."
All Witt Series events are free admission. For events in Kuss Auditorium at the Clark State Performing Arts Center, free tickets can be obtained by contacting Wittenberg's Benham-Pence Student Center Service Desk at (937) 327-7443, or by contacting the Kuss Auditorium Box Office at (937) 328-3874.
Written By: Erica Strauss '08
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