Noted philosopher, political activist, author and Harvard professor Cornel West will be speaking at Weber State University on Jan. 12 in the Austad Auditorium. The theme of the evening is Civility in Modern Times: Keeping Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy of love and justice alive through contemplation and conversation.
The Office of Cultural Affairs, Office of the President and Weber State Student Involvement and Leadership invited West to be a speaker in celebration and honor of King’s birthday and legacy.
West was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and grew up in Sacramento, California. He attended Harvard University, where he graduated magna cum laude.
West later attended Princeton University, where he received a Ph.D. to become the first African American to graduate from Princeton with a Ph.D. in philosophy.
West has taught philosophy, religion and African American studies at several colleges and Ivy League universities, including Yale, Princeton and Harvard University.
His books and works analyze issues of race, class and justice. Several clubs and organizations on campus have been encouraged to read one of his most well-known books, “Race Matters,” in preparation for a discussion as well as a meet-and-greet with West.
Members of Black Scholars United feel the importance and timeliness of West’s visit. Earlier this year, signs with messages of white supremacy and division from an unknown source were hung around Weber State University’s campus, leaving many feeling uneasy.
“It’s important for someone like him to come to campus and spread awareness and enlighten people about race and why discussions about race matter,” said Jalisa Lee, a member of Black Scholars United and a junior at Weber State.
Chuck Chibuike, an engineering student at Weber State and also a member of WSU’s Black Scholars United, believes West’s visit is significant in order to inform, educate and empower WSU students and the Ogden community.
“In order to eliminate some of the ignorance surrounding racial or cultural social justice, it is good that someone of his caliber is doing this,” Chibuike said. “He has successfully built a respected reputation for himself, which will encourage people to want to listen.”
West is a frequent guest contributor on CNN, C-SPAN and “Real time with Bill Maher.” He has written over 20 books, including his best seller, “Race Matters,” which is celebrating its 25th anniversary.