2019 Keynote Speakers

Dr. David Stovall

Monday, January 21, 2019

David Stovall, professor of African American studies and criminology, law and justice at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He will speak in the Fieldhouse Arena at 1:30 p.m. on January 21, following a silent march on campus. The presentation is free and open to the public.

Stovall studies the influence of race in urban education, community development, and housing. His work investigates the significance of race in the quality of schools located in communities that are changing both racially and economically. He is the author of Born out of Struggle!: Critical Race Theory, School Creation, and the Politics of Interruption, and a co-author of two other books, numerous articles and book chapters.

Stovall works with community organizations and schools to develop curriculum that address issues of equity and justice. His work led him to become a member of the design team for the Greater Lawndale/Little Village School of Social Justice High School, which opened in 2005. He is also involved with the Peoples Education Movement, a collection of teachers, community members, students and professors in Chicago, Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area who engage in collaborative community projects centered in creating relevant curriculum. 

headshot- David Stovall

David Stovall


Shannon Cohen

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

A GVSU alumna, Shannon Cohen, ’99 and ’11, is the founder and principal of Shannon Cohen, Inc., a boutique firm specializing in providing emotional health strategies to leaders and difference makers. Cohen has designed and led leadership sessions for Amway, City of Grand Rapids, Mercantile Bank, United Way, Kids’ Food Basket, and many more organizations and corporations. She is a W.K. Kellogg Foundation Community Leadership Network Fellow, and is the co-founder of Sisters Who Lead, a talent and wellness affinity group for women of color.

Cohen will speak Wednesday, January 23, at 4:30 p.m. in the Kirkhof Center, Grand River Room. The presentation is free and open to the public.

The author of Tough Skin, Soft Heart: A Leadership Guide for Growing Stronger, Better, and Wiser, Cohen earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and international relations, and a master’s degree in public administration from Grand Valley.

headshot- Shannon Cohen

Shannon Cohen