GODFREY – University of Illinois President Timothy Killeen will formally introduce Gen. Colin Powell at the Inaugural Mannie Jackson Center for the Humanities Foundation’s Annual Dinner Thursday, March 31, at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville’s Meridian Ballroom.
The dinner scheduled is completely sold out with 460 attendees.
“We couldn’t be happier than to have filled every table two months before the event,” center President and Director Mannie Jackson said. “The response from the general public and the corporate community has been overwhelming. The region is very much looking forward to the General Powell event.”
“Throughout his career General Powell earned the respect of national and world leaders,” foundation Executive Director Ed Hightower said. “He is respected as someone who can bring others together, even though they may have differing views. That’s exactly what the Mannie Jackson Center is about. Respecting each other, creating understanding, promoting dignity and forgiveness.”
A four-star general, some of Powell’s numerous awards include two Presidential Medals of Freedom. Powell is also the author of the best-selling autobiography, “My American Journey,” and his second book, “It Worked for Me,” was an instant New York Times best seller. Through his works, he reveals the lessons that shaped his life and career.
“We want to extend a special thanks to our many sponsors for the Colin Powell dinner including: Scott & Gayla Moore; The Bank of Edwardsville; Simmons, Hanly & Conroy; First Clover Leaf Bank; Gori Julian & Associates; Jeff Cooper & Eudora Global; Plocher Construction; J.F. Electric; Crevo Capital; Raifort Properties; Tom and Vickie Maxwell; Mark and Carol Mestemacher; Ellsworth State Farm; Southern Illinois University Edwardsville; and Lewis and Clark Community College,” Hightower said.
The University of Illinois is a founding partner of Lewis and Clark Community College’s Mannie Jackson Center for the Humanities, along with SIUE, where the sold-out dinner is being hosted.
The collaboration of these three higher education institutions, along with Powell as the inaugural guest speaker to launch the center’s Speaker Series, represents the quality and caliber of programming to be expected from the center, according to L&C President Dale Chapman, who is also a member of the foundation’s Board of Directors.
“It is inspirational that someone of Mannie Jackson’s stature — with his business, athletic and social acumen — would commit to a world-class humanities center dedicated to using the humanities as a roadmap for what it means to be a 21st century American in an increasingly pluralistic society,” Killeen said. “It is an initiative the University of Illinois is proud to be a part of.”
Chapman said Killeen’s presence speaks volumes about the commitment the university places on this collaboration with L&C and SIUE.
“With these strategic partners, the MJCH will develop the intellectual tools and perform the research necessary to empower communities around the world to solve conflict using the center’s core values of respect, dignity, understanding and forgiveness,” Chapman said.
With Killeen’s background as a leading researcher in geophysics and space sciences, and the University of Illinois’ status as a top-tier research institution, the partnership represents the confluence of environmental sciences research and the human dimension as it pertains to the center’s mission.
“The MJCH, as a worldwide Center of Excellence, will perform the research necessary to facilitate the development of the next generation of change agents who will learn to transform their communities effectively, without violence and destruction,” Chapman said. “This partnership is ideal for providing intellectual leadership in the center’s early years, and for engaging policymakers and researchers at the highest levels.”
L&C and the University of Illinois have a long working relationship and respect forged during the development of the National Great Rivers Research and Education Center, which focuses on the study of the ecology of the big rivers, the workings of watersheds, and ties to river communities.
“There is excitement about the seamless relationship between these areas of emphasis — human dimensions and freshwater research — which are high priorities of the university,” Killeen said. “We see this vision as both unique and powerful.”
“One of the top research priorities of the MJCH plays on the strengths already established between these two great institutions,” said Mannie Jackson, namesake for the center and president of the MJCHF Board of Directors. “The MJCH will directly focus on bridging information gaps and applying results of what is currently known, in addition to what is learned, directly through these research projects, to seek positive, scientifically based solutions to current issues and problems.”
Beginning in fall 2016, research projects at the center will delve into the human dimension of environmental issues using scientists at Lewis and Clark’s NGRREC, the University of Illinois, SIUE and other academic institutions throughout the world, as well as the public and private sectors, non-governmental organizations and government organizations. Projects will examine the political, ethical and moral humanities issues through researching the association between people and the environment related to poverty, housing, immigration, education, income disparity and social class, crime, urban planning, health, food and water and more.
Killeen, who became the 20th president of the University of Illinois system in May 2015, said the university is enthusiastic about this collaboration. An award-winning researcher, his resumé includes work with the State University of New York, National Science Foundation, University of Colorado, the National Center for Atmospheric Research and the University of Michigan. His full bio can be found at www.uillinois.edu/20thPresident.
The MJCHF is a nonprofit organization that supports the Mannie Jackson Center for the Humanities, a division of Lewis and Clark Community College. Learn more at www.mjchf.org.