Van Jones to speak at launch of Earlham College’s Presidential Lecture Series 

Van Jones, one of the nation’s most recognizable voices in politics, will be the inaugural speaker of Earlham College’s Presidential Lecture Series.

The lecture, “How do We Talk Across Political Polarization?” begins at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 29, in Carpenter Hall’s Goddard Auditorium. A question-and-answer session will follow the lecture. Free tickets can be reserved on the College’s Eventbrite page and are first-come, first-served.

The Presidential Lecture Series is funded by the Hawkins Just Society Lecture Fund, the Artist and Lecture Series and the President’s Discretionary Fund. The annual event focuses on bringing prominent speakers and change-makers to campus to address the important topics of the day, especially those focused on diversity, innovation, social justice and overcoming adversity. These free lectures are designed to bring Earlham and its neighbors together for a shared experience. 

Van Jones press image for launch of Presidential Lecture Series
Van Jones

“Van Jones has long been recognized as a force for good in the fight for equality and social justice,” Earlham President Anne Houtman said. “We are thrilled to have him join us in the launch of our Presidential Lecture Series and learn from his journey as a voice for change in a nation divided.”

Best known for his insightful election night analysis on CNN, Jones is also a three-time New York Times-bestselling author, attorney, social entrepreneur, and an Emmy Award winner.

Jones has hosted or co-hosted the CNN shows CrossfireThe Messy TruthThe Van Jones Show, and The Redemption Project with Van Jones. He is the author of “The Green Collar Economy,” “Rebuild the Dream,” and “Beyond the Messy Truth.”

Jones has also found success having founded and led many thriving enterprises including the REFORM Alliance, Color of Change, and the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights.

In 2009, as the Green Jobs Advisor to the Obama White House, Jones oversaw an $80 billion dollar investment in clean energy jobs.

The Hawkins Just Society Lecture Fund was established by Neil and Annmarie Hawkins and their daughter, Rachel, who graduated from Earlham in 2010. The fund is named in the honor of Neil’s parents, Kazue Fukada Hawkins and Julian Neil Hawkins, whose lives were forever changed by World War II and the Korean War. Its purpose is to bring to Earlham speakers or performers who are survivors of prejudice or whose particular message or performance addresses issues of societal injustice; who celebrate the indomitable spirit of those who advocate for fairness and justice; or who overcame such experiences to address them in broader society. Prejudice areas included in the series are race, religion, sexual orientation/gender status, and disability.

“We are so grateful for the generosity of the Hawkins family and the opportunity to celebrate the legacy of Neil’s parents through this exciting new lecture series,” said Kim Tanner, vice president of institutional advancement. “Julian and Kazue’s story is an inspiration to us all and a reminder of the triumph of the human spirit during times of great conflict in our world’s history.”

For more information about future events at Earlham College, visit

Media contact

Brian Zimmerman
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Email: [email protected]
Phone: 765.983.1256

We continue to monitor the effects of an industrial fire 1.1 miles from campus.
We continue to monitor the effects of an industrial fire 1.1 miles from campus.