CofC Launches Presidential Speaker Series

Press Release

The College of Charleston will host Michael Sorrell (right), president of Paul Quinn College (Dallas, Texas) on Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2019, at 6:30 pm in Alumni Hall in Randolph Hall. The program is free and open to the public. The event formally launches the College’s new Presidential Speaker Series, which is designed to highlight innovative solutions to access, equity and inclusivity in higher education.

Sorrell is regarded as one of the leading innovators in higher education today and has been lauded for his work to improve the academic standards at Paul Quinn by emphasizing academic rigor, experiential learning and entrepreneurship. He is the pioneer of the “urban work college model,” which requires all students at Paul Quinn to hold an internship or employment on- or off-campus to offset the cost of their tuition while also giving them real world experience for their future.

Always on the cutting-edge, Sorrell made headlines when he – in partnership with PepsiCo – turned the school’s football field into an organic farm, which now provides much-needed produce to impoverished communities surrounding Paul Quinn.

For his efforts, Sorrell has been named one of America’s 10 Most Innovative College Presidents and HBCU Male President of the Year (three times). Fortune magazine named him to its list of the World’s 50 Greatest Leaders last year. He has also spoken at TED, the Aspen Institute and SXSW Education.

When Sorrell visits CofC, he will speak about values-driven leadership, social responsibility of universities, eradicating intergenerational poverty and the evolution of higher-ed. Registration for the event is requested through Eventbrite.

Rénard Harris, associate vice president and chief diversity officer for the College of Charleston, says Sorrell’s visit is timely as CofC ushers in a new era under first-year president Andrew T. Hsu and prepares to celebrate the institution’s 250th anniversary.

“Michael Sorrell has proven that innovation and creative thinking are keys to not only open doorways to equity, access, and inclusion, but also keys to breaking complacency and comfort born from patterns and contentment," Harris said.

The Presidential Speaker Series is a collaborative effort between the Office of Institutional Diversity, the Office of the PresidentFirst Year Experience and the Department of Management and Marketing in the School of Business. The School of Education, Health, and Human Performance, the School of Sciences and Mathematics, and the School of Humanities and Social Sciences are also supporting this initiative.

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