The first Padnos/Sarosik Endowed Professorship of Civil Discourse was awarded to Lisa M. Perhamus at an inaugural ceremony on November 20, 2013. This new program represents GVSU’s continued commitment to promote civil discourse relating to peace and social justice. Perhamus developed a course for Fall 2014 titled “Detroit’s Public Dialogues.” Students will participate in dialogues surrounding Detroit, travel to the city for community meetings, and learn from residents how to successfully revitalize neighborhoods and communities. In addition, Perhamus will also coordinate a Fall 2014 symposium on civil discourse. The symposium will raise awareness around the importance of civil discourse among students, the university community and the wider Grand Rapids area.
Perhamus was selected for the Endowed Professorship largely because of her dynamic proposal. “I can’t think of a more effective venue for involving students in meaningful conversations about poverty, race, government, and communities than the proposed student visits to Detroit,” said Anne Hiskes, dean of Brooks College.