Inside Inauguration: Countdown to October 16

Friday’s distinguished speakers Jamaica Kincaid and Abhi Nemani embody “inquiry and innovation,” the theme of the Inauguration.

One symbolizes inquiry. The other, innovation.

Keynote speakers Jamaica Kincaid and Abhi Nemani will speak Friday, Oct. 16, from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. during an “Inquiry and Innovation”-themed academic symposium celebrating the inauguration of the 17th president of Ursinus College, Brock Blomberg. The event will be in the Lenfest Theater.

Additional speakers include faculty members Susanna Throop, Joel Bish, Ed Onaci and Lisa Grossbauer; and seniors Ed Malandro and Dorinda Ma.

The two guest speakers, and others from across the campus, symbolize what is distinctively Ursinus. They were personally selected by Blomberg because, through their work and personal pursuits, they embody these two fundamentally Ursinus qualities.

Kincaid’s candid and emotional writing in a distinctive melodic style looks at the human experience, and thus evokes the questions asked in the Common Intellectual Experience. She is a writer, novelist, and professor of literature at Claremont McKenna College. Her award-winning books and novels include Annie John, Lucy, At the Bottom of the River and A Small Place. Her work attracted the attention of The New Yorker, where she became a staff writer and featured columnist for nine years. Her short stories also appeared in The Paris Review. In 2014, she won the American Book Award, which celebrates multiculturalism and free expression.  

Blomberg was a mentor to Abhi Nemani before Nemani helped launch the national nonprofit Code for America and served as the first chief data officer for Los Angeles. He is the product of a liberal arts education.   

Nemani is a writer, speaker, organizer, and technologist whose work has been featured in the New York Times, Government Technology and Forbes. As the first chief data officer for the City of Los Angeles, he led the city’s efforts to build an open and data-driven L.A. Before joining the city, he helped launch and run Code for America, a technology organization dedicated to reinventing government for the 21st century. Nemani is a member of the board of directors for the OpenGov Foundation and has served as innovator-in-residence at GovDelivery. He graduated magna cum laude from Claremont McKenna College and studied political philosophy and rhetoric at the University of Oxford. 

Guests are invited to move in and out of the event space freely to hear speakers.

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