A Conversation with Friends on Racism:

On Sunday, October 11, at 11:15 a.m., following the 10 a.m. live-stream worship, we will be having “A Conversation with Friends on Racism.”  This is another one of this fall’s Contemporary Issues Committee Second Sunday presentations that will occur by Zoom.  At the “Conversation,” members Ted Spencer, Willis Patterson, and Bob Holmes will begin the presentation by offering their thoughts on racism, and then open the forum up for questions, comments, and dialogue.  It should be a very interesting and timely “Conversation.”  We will conclude at about noon.  Let me briefly introduce our presenters to you:

Ted Spencer retired from the University of Michigan as Senior Advisor on Admissions Outreach in 2015. Prior to September 2014, he was Associate Vice Provost and Executive Director of Undergraduate Admissions. Before joining Michigan in 1989, he was an Associate Director of Admissions at the United States Air Force Academy. He is a graduate of the Military Air War College and was one of thirty-five Air Force recruiting commanders in the United States. Early in his career, he was a salesman for the IBM Corporation in the City of Detroit. Ted has presented at numerous professional conferences statewide, nationally and internationally, and has written and published articles on the college admissions process. He has received numerous awards, and was recognized as the Point Man on Diversity Defense for affirmative action in college admissions. He has previously served as a Trustee for the College Board and on the faculty for the Harvard Summer Institute on College Admissions, and currently serves as a member on select local boards. Ted holds a MS degree in sociology from Pepperdine University and a BS in political science from Tennessee State University.

Willis Patterson, retired from the University of Michigan in 1999 as professor emeritus of voice and former associate dean, as well as being our own FCC Director of Music for 35 years.  Willis joined the UM faculty in 1968, after having taught at Southern University (Louisiana) and Virginia State College and having concertized extensively in the U.S. and Europe. and has appeared as bass soloist with major American orchestras. He was a Fulbright Fellow and a winner of the Marian Anderson Award for young singers. Born in Ann Arbor, Willis is a graduate of Ann Arbor High School, the University of Michigan, and received his Doctorate of Music from Wayne State University.  A Fulbright Scholarship enabled him to pursue studies in opera and lieder in Germany for a year and a half.  He also attended classes in opera at the Manhattan School of Music.  From 1969–1975, Willis was the music director of the University of Michigan Men’s Glee Club. Willis has served as president of the National Association of Negro Musicians and as executive secretary of the National Black Music Caucus. In 1977 he edited what The New York Times described as a “groundbreaking anthology” of black art songs.  According to a publication by the University of Michigan: “Over [Dr. Patterson’s] more than 30 years on the faculty, including 20 years as associate dean, Patterson arguably did more to advance the cause of racial equity at SMTD than anyone else in its history, before or since. In addition to being a tireless advocate for the School’s community of color, he also made enormous strides in promoting the inclusion of music by African Americans in the traditional vocal canon.”

Bob Holmes retired from the University of Michigan administrative staff in 2010.  One of the constant themes in much of Bob’s 40-year career has been
making higher education more accessible for Black, Latinx, and low-
income students. After a long career at the University of Michigan, Bob Holmes retired as the University Ombudsman in 2010. Prior to that, he had been director of Human Resource Development, and for many years, Assistant Vice President of Academic Affairs. In this latter role, he was responsible for six major offices including Financial Aid and Admissions. In addition, he
was responsible for the University’s implementation of Total Quality Management (TQM). He also helped plan parts of the University budget. Before coming to UM, Bob was the director of financial aid and a member of the faculty at Chicago State University. The University was located in a blighted area on the south side of Chicago that enrolled primarily Black students, as well as first-generation students, and single parents. His first position in higher education was as assistant dean and
director of financial aid at Illinois Institute of Technology. Bob has received many awards over the years for the work he has done to develop and strengthen financial aid programs in urban community
colleges, improve financial aid programs as a consultant to the U.S. Office of education, and promote collaboration between the University of Michigan and the office of the superintendent of the Detroit Public Schools. He is currently a volunteer in Detroit, along with Sara Holmes, at Cass
Community Social Services, where he also serves as a board member.

As you can see, this will be a wonderful opportunity to connect with FCC members and friends, to meet and hear the stories and insights of three of our wonderful FCC members and community leaders, and consider the important and relevant topic of racism.  I sincerely hope you will join us.