Kennedy Lectures are planned on two Ohio University regional campuses next week as part of Black History Month observances.
Columbus City Schools Superintendent Gene T. Harris will speak at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 27, in the Bennett Hall auditorium at Ohio University-Chillicothe. The title of her talk is "Creating Support for an Educational Continuum."
The following day, The Mark Lomax Quartet will perform at Ohio University-Zanesville. The group will present "Jazz as Social Commentary," featuring both music and discussion, at noon and 7 p.m. in the Elson Hall Auditorium.
Both events are free and open to the public.
Harris, who earned her doctorate in educational administration from Ohio University in 1999, is a member of the university's Board of Trustees.
Since becoming Columbus City Schools' 19th superintendent in 2001, the Columbus native has provided strong leadership that has resulted in significant measurable gains in academic achievement. She also has reached out to establish partnerships for the benefit of students and the community. Under her leadership, the Higher Education Partnership was created, providing a single point of contact between the school district and eight central Ohio colleges and universities to develop programs that boost student achievement and college readiness.
"Dr. Harris is a highly respected leader in education who has a passion for helping students succeed and for establishing partnerships that benefit students, schools and the community," Chillicothe campus Dean Richard Bebee said. "Those are points of emphasis that are also important on our campus, and we look forward to having Dr. Harris share her insights."
Harris has a strong background as both a classroom teacher and an administrator. She began her career teaching in Columbus City Schools. After developing new teacher education and licensure standards as assistant superintendent for the Ohio Department of Education, she returned to the Columbus district as deputy superintendent in 2000 and superintendent in 2001.
The Zanesville campus' Mark Lomax Quartet concert and discussion will feature drummer Mark Lomax II, pianist William Mennefield, bassist Brandon Meeks and tenor saxophonist Edwin Bayard.
Lomax expresses his heritage and spirituality through the music of jazz in the traditions of John Coltrane, Duke Ellington and jazz drumming legend Elvin Jones. Having worked with many notable jazz artists, Lomax says he considers himself most humbled by the gift of composition he feels he was given to convey a message of true spirituality, oneness with God and strong knowledge of self.
The presentation is sponsored by the Ohio University-Zanesville Cultural Committee and the Kennedy Lecture Series. The latter was established as a result of a gift by alumni Edwin L. and Ruth Kennedy to the university's John C. Baker Fund in the early 1960s. The couple's intention was to provide a premier lecture series that would enrich the lives of members of the university and local communities.