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January 23, 2001

Calvin Grad To Return for Talk

Calvin College graduate Dr. Willie Jennings will return to his alma mater in February for a lecture that is part of the college's 125th Anniversary Series.

The 1984 graduate, a religion and theology major, will speak on "The Color of the Mind: Race, Christian Discipleship and the Intellectual Life." That talk, which is free and open to the public, will begin at 3:30 p.m. on February 23 in Gezon Auditorium on Calvin's campus.

Jennings, who was President of the Black Student Union while a Calvin student, went on to earn a master's degree at Fuller Theological Seminary and then earned a Ph.D. at Duke University in Systematic Theology. He now works at Duke's Divinity School, serving as Associate Dean of Academic Programs and Assistant Research Professor of Systematic Theology and Black Church Studies.

An ordained Baptist minister, Jennings writes and lectures frequently on the intersections of race, faith and the mind. He is working on a book on the black church and another on race, culture and Christian identity. He has written on everything from W.E.B. Du Bois to the Apostle's Creed to the blues. He also has served as an interim pastor for several North Carolina churches and continues to be an active teaching and preaching minister.

"Having Willie Jennings return to Calvin is an honor. We are proud of all of our alums who have distinguished themselves," says Randall Jelks, who serves Calvin as a professor of history and Director of Academic Multicultural Affairs. "He has some interesting things to say about who we are as Christians and as intellectual beings and how race plays into all of that. I think his talk will be very enlightening."

Jennings, 39, is a native of Grand Rapids. He is married with two children.

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Contact Phil de Haan.