January series


Photo courtesy of Calvin.edu

The January Series has recently released the 2019 speaker lineup to the public. An official list can be found on Calvin’s website.

This event takes place annually on Calvin’s campus in the Covenant Fine Arts Center. It is a series of free lectures on a variety of topics, open to both students and the public. This year’s Series will be from Jan. 3-23, 2019 on weekdays.

Those lectures are streamed via webcast in over fifty remote locations for audience members who cannot make it to the talks in person. Those locations consist of churches, schools, libraries and literary clubs both in America and internationally.


Kristi Potter, director of the January Series, said,“It’s a great opportunity to hear really good speakers talk about topics from your classes and very timely issues,” said Potter. “I would really encourage students who are on campus to take advantage of this. You never really know your plans for future interims.”

 In 2019, two people will be speaking together in a talk titled “The Transformative and Redemptive Power of a Christian Education.” This talk has happened several times before, in 2016 with Gabriel and Jeanette Salguero and others, but does not always occur.

Along with Todd Cioffi and Christiana DeGroot, the pair speaking in 2019, there will be a few returning speakers. One of them is Arthur C. Brooks, whose talk in 2010 was called “The New American Culture War.” This year, Brooks will continue with a similar topic: “Bringing America Together.”

Speakers include Jenna Bush Hager, correspondent for NBC’s Today show and daughter of former president George W. Bush, Rachael Denhollander, the first woman to file a report against Larry Nassar and Ruth Carter, a costume designer for Black Panther.

Other topics in this year’s lineup include,  “Searching for the Image of God in a Digital Age,” “The Art of Storytelling Through Costume Design,” and “The Christian Imagination: Theology and the Origins of Race.”

There are speakers who come from a wide variety of racial backgrounds, worldviews and professions. Potter noted the importance of diversity among speakers, both individuals and groups alike.

“That’s an important part of what we as a college hold as important: looking at diversity and realizing that’s God’s plan for this world and that we need to learn from each other.”

Potter mentioned the direct correlation of not only diversity, but the January Series as a whole, to Calvin’s core values. Thinking deeply about various topics, acting justly empowered by justice speakers and living wholeheartedly as Christ’s agents of renewal in the world, as each speaker strives to do in their professions.  

“The whole purpose of the January Series itself is to help us to be better global citizens, to think deeply about issues in the world and hold conversations about them,” said Potter. “And we can then share that with the community as well.”