Lecture Series

Established with the generosity and foresight of Jill and Ken Iscol, this program is intended to give undergraduate students inspiration and direction in translating their knowledge, idealism, and optimism into concrete action to build better communities for families and children. Across the University, there is a deep and long-standing interest in community development related to families and children. The Iscol program brings individuals to campus that embody the intelligence, energy, sacrifice, and commitment it takes to successfully impact society.

The format of the program is to bring a distinguished community leader to campus as the Iscol Fellow each year during the fall semester. We ask that the Fellow spend a day and a half to two days on campus to deliver the Iscol Family Lecture for Leadership Development in Public Service, visit classes, and meet with students and faculty.

This Year's Event:

This year's event

Get on a Plane! Fighting for Refugees in the Age of Trump

DATE: Wednesday, October 18, 2017
TIME: 7:30 pm
LOCATION: Call Auditorium, Kennedy Hall

Rebecca Heller is the co-founder and director of International Refugee Assistance Project, who organize law students and lawyers to develop and enforce a set of legal and human rights for refugees and displaced persons. IRAP serves the world’s most persecuted individuals and empowers the next generation of human rights leaders.

More about International Refugee Assistance Project...

Past Lectures

  • Past Lecture

    Mass Incarceration: An Experience Shared by 65 Million Americans

    DATE: September 27, 2016

    Glenn E. Martin is the founder and president of JustLeadershipUSA, an organization dedicated to cutting the US correctional population in half by 2030, while reducing crime. JLUSA empowers people most affected by incarceration to drive policy reform.

    More information: click here.

  • Past Lecture

    Workforce of the Future

    DATE: October 7, 2015

    Reshma Saujani is the founder and CEO of Girls Who Code, a national non-profit organization working to close the gender gap in technology and prepare young women for the jobs of the future. In her groundbreaking new book, Women Who Don’t Wait in Line, Reshma advocates for a new model of female leadership focused on embracing risk and failure, promoting mentorship and sponsorship, and boldly charting one’s own course — personally and professionally.

    More information: click here.

  • Past Lecture

    WAKAMI: A Value Chain that Connects and Transforms People and the Earth

    DATE: October 6, 2014

    In this talk, Maria Pacheco, co-founder and CEO of Wakami, shared how this value chain is transforming people and the environment. Wakami is a lifestyle brand of fashion accessories that invites people to Create, Design, Enjoy . . . Be their dream! Wakami currently works in 17 villages in Guatemala, providing sources of income to 450 people (90% women), and exporting products to 20 countries in the world. With increased income, women invest in opportunities and make the purchases they need to improve the lives of their families and communities.

    More information: click here.

  • Past Lecture

    Samasource: A Sustainable Solution to Global Poverty

    DATE: September 30, 2013

    Leila Janah (founder and CEO of Samasource) went from being a student of international development and budding travel writer to a world-renowned technology leader. In her talk, Leila shared her experiences of the fast and furious process of building a company with real revenue streams. She delved into the fundamental secret of social entrepreneurship: survival hinges on getting things done and never giving up. And because there is no road map, recognizing that getting lost along the way is usually when you wind up finding yourself... and your product.

    More information: click here.

  • Past Lecture

    From Ideas to Action: Technology and Global Health

    DATE: October 4, 2012

    Nadim Mahmud and Josh Nesbit, two of Medic Mobile's founders, will deliver the 11th annual Iscol Family Program for Leadership Development in Public Service lecture. The goal of the founders and the Medic Mobile team is to revolutionize health care around the world by making the benefits of health care information networks available to clinics and health workers in rural Africa, Central America, and South Asia.

    More information: click here.

  • Past Lecture

    Connect Your future to Change

    DATE: September 2011

    Josh Tetrick ('04), CEO of 33needs will deliver the 10th annual Iscol Family Program for Leadership Development in Public Service Lecture drawing on his social entrepreneurial and public service experiences and work in Africa, Argentina and elsewhere. He will actualize the Iscol program's chief objective -- to educate and inspire a new generation of community leaders to tackle the problems that face our society by promoting new, problem-centered approaches to educating students and creating continuing dialogue among faculty and community members.

    More information: click here.

  • Past Lecture

    Jacqueline Novogratz

    DATE: September 2010

    Jacqueline Novogratz, Founder and CEO of the Acumen Fund Author of The Blue Sweater: Bridging the Gap Between Rich and Poor in an Interconnected World. Reception to follow. Free and open to the public.

    More information: click here.

  • Past Lecture

    Reforming Public Education: How to Change the Conversation

    DATE: October 2009

    Chancellor Michelle Rhee was appointed by Mayor Adrian Fenty June 12, 2007. She leads D.C. Public Schools, a district numbering 46,000 students and 123 schools. In the Mayor's search for a change agent for schools in the District, experts in education recommended Ms. Rhee, who had already transformed many urban public school systems through her work with The New Teacher Project (TNTP).

    More information: click here.

  • Past Lecture

    New Unionism: Delivering the Promise of a Fair Economy

    DATE: September 2008

    Speaker: Sara Horowitz ('84) Founder and Executive Director of Working Today Freelancers Union, a union for the non-traditionally employed (artists, consultants, etc.) that offers social safety nets - healthcare, insurance, etc. for flexible workers

    More information: Freelancers Union

  • Past Lecture

    Me to We: Finding Meaning in a Material World. How University Students Can Create Positive Social Change

    DATE: September 10, 2007

    Speaker: Craig Kielburger, Founder of Free the Children, an organization that has built more than 450 schools and educated some 40,000 children in 50 developing countries to combat child labor through education.

    More information: Free the Children

  • Past Lecture

    Is Development Possible Today?

    DATE: November 13, 2006

    Speaker: Christopher London, Executive Director, Educate the Children whose mission is to provide educational and development opportunities for children, women, and communities in Nepal, enabling them to gain new skills to improve their lives.

    More information: www.etc-nepal.org

  • Past Lecture

    Someday You'll Change the World... Welcome to Someday: A Lifetime of Community Service - How Young People are Becoming Active Citizens and Social Entrepreneurs.

    DATE: September 20, 2005

    Speaker: Ken Grouf ('93) Founder and co-executive director of CityYear New York, an AmeriCorps program - a national service organization that unites young adults ages 17-24 for a year of full-time community service, leaderships development and civic engagement.

    More information: www.cityyear.org

  • Past Lecture

    The Light of Conscience: How a Simple Act Can Change Your Life.

    DATE: September 14, 2004

    Speaker: Bill Shore, Founder and CEO of Share Our Strength, a leading anti-hunger, anti-poverty organization that mobilizes industries and individuals to fight hunger and poverty.

    More information: www.eclips.cornell.edu

  • Past Lecture

    A Harder Thing: Discovering My work in East Harlem

    DATE: September 24, 2003

    Speaker: Ivan Hageman, principal and co-founder of the East Harlem School at Exodus House in New York City.

    More information: Ivan Hageman | Poetry Slam

  • Past Lecture

    Education for Social Justice

    DATE: September 25, 2002

    Speakers: Luis Garden Acosta, Frances Lucerna, Co founders of El Puente, Brooklyn-based school and community youth development organization.

    More information: El Puente

  • Past Lecture

    A Commitment to Social Change

    DATE: September 25, 2001


    Rafael Cestero, Deputy Director, The Enterprise Foundation. A leader in developing housing for homeless individuals and families living with special needs as well as other neighborhood revitalization efforts. More information: City Hall article | Enterprise Community

    Jonah Edelman, Co-Founder and Executive Director, Stand for Children, a national advocacy organization for children with a growing number of local chapters. He helped organize Stand for Children Day in Washington with 300,000 participants. More information: Stand Leadership Center | Stand.org

    Katherine LaGuardia, Director of Women's Health, Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceutical, Inc. A strong advocate for women in poverty, she developed several community-based programs including the first Women's HIV clinic in New York City. More information: LaGuardia Foundation