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News Release

Sept. 18, 2018

Northwest announces fall Distinguished Lecture Series

By Kelsey Johnson, communication assistant

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Northwest Missouri State University has announced its fall 2018 Distinguished Lecture Series, which features an education advocate for immigrant students, and the founder of the “me too” movement.

The series begins Tuesday, Sept. 25, with Julissa Arce, the co-founder and chairman of the Ascend Educational Fund. The lecture is at 7:30 p.m. in the Mary Lynn Auditorium at the Ron Houston Center for the Performing Arts and is sponsored in collaboration with the Student Activities Council; Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion; International Involvement Center; and Bearcat Bookstore.

Tarana Burke, a social justice activist and the founder of the “me too” movement will visit Northwest on Oct. 24. The lecture is a collaborative effort with the Student Activities Council.

“I hope students recognize that the speakers’ topics are very important workplace topics in the American debate right now, both in terms of how we understand immigration and our undocumented workforce and understanding harassment,” Kenton Wilcox, the chair of the Distinguished Lecture Series Committee and an English instructor at the University, said. “Coming to these lectures and understanding complicated issues are part of any students’ professionalization.”

Both lectures are free and open to the public. Tickets are available on the Northwest campus in the cashiering office, located on the first floor of the Administration Building.

The objective of the Distinguished Lecture Series is to enhance the academic environment through its exploration of interdisciplinary topics. Supported by the Office of Provost and the Student Activities Council, the series presents the Northwest campus and surrounding communities with opportunities to hear from extraordinary individuals from around the globe. Scholars, world travelers and leaders in their fields visit the Northwest campus to share their wisdom, insight and experiences. 

Julissa Arce | Tuesday, Sept. 25

Julissa Arce is a writer, immigrant rights, education advocate and a CNBC Contributor. She is the co-founder and chairman of the Ascend Educational Fund, a college scholarship and mentorship program for immigrant students, regardless of their immigration status, ethnicity or national origin.

Prior to becoming an advocate, she built a successful career on Wall Street working at Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch. Arce seemingly achieved the American dream, yet she was not part of what defined American. Arce immigrated to America from Mexico at age 11 and was undocumented for almost 15 years, including some of her years on Wall Street.

Arce shares her story about what it was like “climbing the corporate ladder” as both a Hispanic and undocumented American. Arce’s stories will give audiences a new perspective on what it means to achieve the “American dream.”

Julissa Arce

Tarana Burke | Wednesday, Oct. 24

Tarana Burke, who is delivering the James H. Lemon Lecture at Northwest, shares her story behind the genesis of last year’s viral and Time magazine Person of the Year-winning “me too” movement, while giving strength and healing to people who have experienced sexual trauma or harassment.

Burke’s powerful, poignant story as the creator of what is now an international movement that supports survivors has moved, uplifted and inspired audiences. She provides words of empowerment that lift up marginalized voices and enable survivors of all races, gender or classes to know they are not alone.

A sexual assault survivor herself, Burke currently works under the banner of the “Me too” movement to assist other survivors and individuals who work to end sexual violence. She also is senior director or programs at the Brooklyn-based Girls for Gender Equity.

Northwest’s annual James H. Lemon Lecture honors Lemon, who was a member of the Missouri House of Representatives and helped establish the Fifth District Normal School, as Northwest was originally known.

Tarana Burke


Dr. Mark Hornickel
Administration Building
Room 215