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Vernon Jordan '57 to Speak at Michigan State's 'Slavery to Freedom' Lecture Series

Vernon Jordan '57 to Speak at Michigan State's 'Slavery to Freedom' Lecture Series

December 27, 2018

Vernon E. Jordan Jr. -- adviser to presidents, noted civil rights leader/activist, attorney, businessman, and 1957 graduate of DePauw University -- "will visit Michigan State University Feb. 28 as part of the month-long 'Slavery to Freedom' lecture series," reports the Lansing State Journal.

"This will be the 19th year of the lecture series, which is named for William G. Anderson, the first African-American to be elected national president of the American Osteopathic Association," writes Vickki Dozier. "A founder and first president of the Albany Movement in 1961, which spearheaded the Civil Rights Movement in Southwest Georgia, Dr. Anderson worked closely with civil rights leaders and was friends with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Ralph  Abernathy, Sr."

Read more at the newspaper's website.

In November, Jordan received the Council on Legal Education Opportunity, Inc.’s inaugural CLEO EDGE Heritage Award, which is now named the CLEO EDGE Vernon E. Jordan, Jr. Heritage Award.

An advisory member of DePauw's Board of Trustees,Vernon Jordan holds honorary doctoral degrees from more than 60 colleges and universities in America, including DePauw. He is the author of Vernon Can Read! A Memoir and Make It Plain: Standing Up and Speaking Out.

In December 2009, Jordan was one of eight individuals presented with the Du Bois Medal, the highest honor awarded by the Harvard University Institute of Politics' W.E.B. Du Bois Institute. He's also been honored with the Spingarn Medal, the NAACP's highest honor for achievement, the Trumpet Award, and DePauw's Old Gold Goblet and McNaughton Medal for Public Service. In June 2017 he received the Harvard Law School Center on the Legal Profession's Award for Global Leadership and he was honored by the Anti-Defamation League this February.

Jordan is the first person in DePauw's 181-year history to be called upon three times as commencement speaker who was not a bishop of the Methodist Church. In his most recent commencement address in May, Jordan delivered a powerful message to DePauw's Class of 2018, which is embedded below.

Jordan has been a regular visitor to campus since he earned his diploma 61 years ago.  Among his many visits to Greencastle: he delivered an Ubben Lecture at the October 2016 inauguration of President D. Mark McCoy and was on campus in November 2011 to introduce his good friend, America's 42nd president, Bill Clinton, who delivered an Ubben Lecture before 5,000 people in the Lilly Center.

Jordan has said, "DePauw expanded my mind, broadened my horizons, lifted my sights, prepared me to serve and to lead and nurtured my growth and maturity. I made lasting friendships here. If I had my life to live over again, I would return to this place."