Dr. Arne S. Jensen established the eponymous lectureship in 1994, when he was in the process of preparing his will. He had been a regular and generous contributor to the university, having graduated from Oregon Normal School (now Western Oregon University) in 1937. Dr. Jensen died on November 26, 1994 and his bequest of $100,000 to the WOU Foundation arrived in September 1995.
1998: For the past thirty-five years, Jonathon Kozol has been an advocate for children. He points out the discrepancies that make our educational system so blatantly hypocritical. He is not the only advocate of the forgotten pupil, yet he has been among the most vocal and active. In his book Amazing Grace, spawned by the wealth of experience which he had gained from the community, Kozol attempts to humanize these abstract and complex social issues through the experience of specific individuals, and to call for social reform.
2001: The single most articulate and passionate advocate of citizen action to remedy the nuclear and environmental crises, Helen Caldicott, has devoted the last 38 years to an international campaign to educate the public about the medical hazards of the nuclear age and the necessary changes in human behavior to stop environmental destruction. Dr. Caldicott currently divides her time between Australia and the U.S. where she lectures widely. She founded the U.S.-based Nuclear Policy Research Institute (NPRI), which evolved into Beyond Nuclear, of which Dr. Caldicott is founding president.
Robert K. Musil, Ph.D. was the executive director and CEO of Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR), a national membership organization in Washington, DC. from 1992-2006. It shared the 1985 Nobel Prize for Peace with International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War and supports sensible gun laws to reduce firearms injuries and deaths. A long time leader of the peace, nuclear disarmament, and environmental movements, Dr. Musil has also been executive director of the Professionals' Coalition for Nuclear Arms Control, the SANE Education Fund, the Center for National Security Studies Military Affairs Project, and CCCO: An Agency for Military and Draft Counseling.
2002: Andrei Codrescu has been a commentator on All Things Considered since 1983. He is an homme-de-lettres whose novels, essays and poetry have been infiltrating the American psyche since he emigrated from his native Romania to Detroit in 1965. He is the author of forty books of poetry, fiction, and essays, and the founder of Exquisite Corpse.
2004: In 1981, Sister Helen Prejean began working with the St. Thomas Housing Project with poor inner-city residents and began counseling death row inmates at the Louisiana State Penitentiary. Fifteen years after beginning her crusade, the Roman Catholic sister has witnessed five executions in Louisiana and today educates the public about the death penalty by lecturing, organizing and writing. As the founder of "Survive," a victim's advocacy group in New Orleans, she continues to counsel not only inmates on death row, but the families of murder victims, as well.
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