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Saving Free Expression on Campus: A Presidential Perspective

Virtual February 23, 2022 at 7:00 pm ET Public Event

Missed this event? Catch it below!

February 23, 2022 at 7pm ET

This spring is a critical time to strengthen freedom of expression and inquiry in higher education. After years of disruption that exacerbated our fear to speak openly, we are relearning how to be on campus together even as variants slow these efforts. At the same time, looming election issues threaten to fan partisan divides and weaken our mutual trust. Are faculty and students equipped to endure another volatile year? How do we fortify free expression and inquiry in the face of coming cultural tension?

Join Walter Kimbrough, President of Dillard University, and Ron Crutcher, President Emeritus of the University of Richmond, for a discussion about the future of campus expression. Experts in free speech and higher education, they’ll converse with Kyle Vitale, Director of Programs at HxA, about turning our present challenges into opportunities.

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About the Speakers:

  • Ronald A. Crutcher headshot

    Dr. Ronald A. Crutcher, a national leader in higher education and a distinguished classical musician, was the President of the University of Richmond from 2015-2021. Dr. Crutcher is also President Emeritus of Wheaton College in Massachusetts. Prior to Wheaton, he was Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs at Miami University of Ohio.  In August 2021, he was named a  Senior Fellow at the Aspen Institute.

    Dr. Crutcher writes and speaks widely on the value of liberal education, the democratic purposes of higher education, diversity and inclusion, and free expression on college campuses. He is Chair of the Board of the American Council on Education (ACE), a Senator of the Phi Beta Kappa Society, and a member of the Board of IES Abroad.  He previously served on the boards of the Posse Foundation, the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U), the Fulbright Association, and he was Chair of the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities in Massachusetts. His thematic memoir,  I Had No Idea You Were Black:  Navigating Race on the Road to Leadership, was published in February 2021.

    Throughout his 44-year career in higher education, Crutcher has consulted with higher education institutions, non-profit organizations, and corporations in the USA and abroad on issues related to organizational culture, especially bridging racial and cultural divides, as well as diversity, equity, and inclusion.

    He is a former member of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and several other symphonies.  For almost forty years, he performed in the U.S. and Europe as a member of The Klemperer Trio. He has served on the boards of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Richmond Symphony, and the Berklee College of Music. Earlier in his career he was President of Chamber Music America, director of the highly-ranked Butler School of Music at the University of Texas at Austin, and dean of the Conservatory at the Cleveland Institute of Music.

    Dr. Crutcher began studying cello at the age of 15 with Professor Elizabeth Potteiger, a faculty member at Miami University. He made his Carnegie Hall debut in March 1985 and was the first cellist to receive the doctor of musical arts degree from Yale University, where he also earned his master’s degree. During his graduate study, he received a Fulbright Fellowship, a Ford Foundation Doctoral Fellowship, and a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship. A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Miami University (Ohio), he has received honorary degrees from Wheaton College (MA), Colgate University, Muhlenberg College, University of Richmond, and the University of Cordoba in Spain.

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  • Dr. Walter M. Kimbrough headshot

    A native of Atlanta, Dr. Walter M. Kimbrough was his high school salutatorian and student body president in 1985, and went on to earn degrees from the University of Georgia, Miami University in Ohio, and a doctorate in higher education from Georgia State University. He has enjoyed a fulfilling career in student affairs, serving at Emory University, Georgia State University, Old Dominion University, and Albany State University. In October of 2004, at the age of 37, he was named the 12th president of Philander Smith College. In 2012 he became the 7th president of Dillard University in New Orleans, Louisiana.

    Kimbrough has been recognized for his research and writings on HBCUs and African American men in college. Recently he has emerged as one of the leaders discussing free speech on college campuses. Kimbrough also has been noted for his active use of social media. He was cited by Education Dive as one of 10 college presidents on Twitter who are doing it right (@HipHopPrez), and in 2015 he was named by The Best as one of the 20 most interesting college presidents. In 2020 he was named by College Cliffs as one of 50 Top U.S. College and University Presidents.

    Dr. Kimbrough has forged a national reputation as an expert on fraternities and sororities, with specific expertise regarding historically Black, Latin and Asian groups. He is the author of the book, Black Greek 101: The Culture, Customs and Challenges of Black Fraternities and Sororities, and has served as an expert witness in a number of hazing cases.

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Heterodox events are public conversations among academics and experts on a focused topic that offer an opportunity to showcase our values in action, and provide timely discussion of pressing topics. We are currently hosting regular virtual events in addition to periodic live events. Nearly all events, virtual or live, will be recorded and posted on our YouTube channel following the event.


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