As April quickly approaches, two diverse speakers will join the Hobart and William Smith Colleges President’s Forum Series in the first week of the month to share their stories of overcoming adversity to pursue lives and careers of consequence. The Colleges will be joined by Episcopal Bishop V. Gene Robinson on Tuesday, April 5, and Public Radio International host John Hockenberry on Thursday, April 7.
Robinson, the 9th bishop of the Diocese of New Hampshire in the Episcopal Church, will offer a talk called, “Beyond Inclusion: It’s a God Thing,” at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 5 in the Geneva Room of the Warren Hunting Smith Library. Robinson has been an outspoken advocate for civil rights for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people. Working at the state, national and international levels, he has lobbied for equal protection under the law and full civil marriage rights. Robinson made headlines in 2003, when he became the first non-celibate gay clergyman in the Anglican Communion to become bishop. At his controversial consecration, he wore a bulletproof vest under his gold vestments because he had received death threats.
Since his ordination, Robinson has been featured in numerous newspapers and magazines, as well as the 2007 documentary “For the Bible Tells Me So.” In 2009, Robinson was the recipient of the Stephen F. Kolzak Media Award, an honor bestowed by the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. He is the author of “In the Eye of the Storm: Swept to the Center by God” which was released in 2008. In 2009, Robinson was invited by President Barack Obama to give the invocation at the opening inaugural ceremonies at the Lincoln Memorial. He is also a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress. He holds a bachelor’s degree in American studies from Sewanee: the University of the South, and a master’s of Divinity from the Episcopal General Theological Seminary. The Bishop’s next book, “God Believes in Love: Straight Talk about Gay Marriage,” will be published by Alfred Knopf in the spring of 2012.
As part of the Colleges’ Festival for Disability in the Arts, award-winning journalist John Hockenberry will join the President’s Forum at 7:30 p.m. in the Vandervort Room on Thursday, April 7. Currently, Hockenberry serves as co-host of “The Takeaway,” a radio broadcast for Public Radio International and New York Public Radio, and is a contributing broadcaster to both “The DNA Files” and “The Infinite Mind.” Hockenberry has been the recipient of four Peabody Awards, four Emmy Awards, an Edward R. Murrow Award, and a Casey Medal for his work at ABC and NBC. During his tenure at NBC, Hockenberry served as a correspondent for “Dateline,” and hosted two of his own programs on MSNBC, “Hockenberry” and “Edgewise.”
He is the author of two books, “Moving Violations: War Zones, Wheelchairs and Declarations of Independence” and “A River Out Of Eden.” Hockenberry is a paraplegic, having suffered a spinal cord injury in a car crash at the age of 19.
During the first Gulf War, Hockenberry reported from an extensive number of countries including Israel, Turkey, Jordan, Iraq and Iran. He also spent a significant amount of time broadcasting from Kurdish refugee camps in Iraq and Turkey, and was one of the first Western journalists to do so. Hockenberry also reported on Palestinian uprisings from Jerusalem for two years during the height of conflict.
In addition to his work as a reporter, Hockenberry has served as a contributing editor for Condé Nast Portfolio and Metropolis magazines. In the past, he has written for the New York Times, The New Yorker, Wired and The Washington Post. Hockenberry holds degrees from the University of Chicago and the University of Oregon.
Established in the winter of 2000 by President Mark D. Gearan, the President’s Forum Series is designed to bring a variety of speakers to campus to share their knowledge and ideas with students, faculty and staff of the Colleges, as well as with interested community members. Before serving as President of HWS, Gearan was the director of the Peace Corps. He also served in the White House as Assistant to the President and Director of Communications, as well as Deputy Chief of Staff during the Clinton administration.