Harry S. Truman Distinguished Lecture Series

Truman Lecture Series

The Harry S. Truman Distinguished Lecture Series began in 1971 when former President Harry S. Truman gave his stamp of approval for Avila University (then Avila College) to offer a lecture series in his name. Later that year, the first Truman lecture was delivered by David E. Bell, vice president of the Ford Foundation and Truman’s first administrative executive.

2023 Truman Lecture

This is the 52st Anniversary of the Truman Lecture Series at Avila University!

The 2023 Harry S. Truman Distinguished Lecture centers around the book This I Believe, edited by Jay Allison and Dan Gediman. Based on the National Public Radio series, This I Believe features eighty essayists–from the famous to the unknown–completing the thought that begins the book’s title. Each piece compels readers to rethink not only how they have arrived at their own personal beliefs but also the extent to which they share them with others.

Click here for more information on the book and the This I Believe project.

Event Details

Wednesday, Oct 25, 2023

This year the Truman Lecture speaker is Cornell Ellis, the founder and executive director at Brothers Liberating Our Communities (BLOC) in Kansas City, MO.  The goal of BLOC is to increase the number of Black male educators in our schools.

Cornell earned his Bachelors of Arts degree in History from Avila with a specialization in Ancient World Studies.  He is a graduate of Rockhurst High School.  He also attended the University of Missouri-Columbia where he played football for two seasons.  It was during his college years that Cornell began his “passion for education and justice.”  He was the director at Boys and Girls Club Teen Center in Columbia, MO.  He also managed curriculum for trauma informed English Language Arts practices at Roosevelt University in Chicago. 

4:30 p.m. – Panel Discussion with Sister Marie Joan Harris, CSJ, Sister Ruth Stuckel, CSJ and Sister Rose McClarney, CSJ

5:10 p.m. – Speaker Cornell Ellis

6:00 p.m. – Public Reception

Sponsored by:


Truman Distinguished Lecture Series

Sue Ellen McCalley, Ph.D., Professor
P: 816-501-2433 / E: sueellen.mccalley

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