Mary L. Seifert Cultural Series

The history of the Mary L. Seifert Cultural Series

Mary L SeifertMary L. Seifert's rich family history with Clarion University can be traced to 1907 with the enrollment of her mother, Sabina Mooney-Seifert, and her uncle, Charles A. Mooney. From 1909 to 1912, her grandfather, John A. Mooney, served as a trustee for the Clarion Normal School. Shortly after her mother’s and uncle's graduations in 1909, their two younger siblings, Thomas W. and John A., were to follow family tradition by attending Clarion. Two of Seifert's uncles became medical doctors after furthering their education at the University of Michigan. To date at least 18 members of her extended family have graduated from Clarion.

Seifert loved music and the arts. As an investment in young people, she chose to endow a culture and lecture series at Clarion University to ignite the passion for learning that she encouraged. Through that endowment, the Mary L. Seifert Cultural Series Endowment of the Clarion University Foundation, Inc., was established to provide the Clarion University community with cultural experiences that inspire learning through thoughtful discussions.

More about Mary Seifert can be found here.

In honor of Mary Seifert Clarion University holds an annual series of events tied to a particular cultural theme. The theme of the 2017-18 Mary L. Seifert Cultural Series is "Work and the American Dream." Events, including
literary readings, lectures, films and a photography exhibit, will focus on wide-ranging issues surrounding the myriad ways in which Americans conceive their ideas of work within the framework of larger cultural limitations and opportunities.

Seifert Series SPRING 2019 Events - Coming Soon!


Past Events:

Martín Espada

Martin EspadaMartín Espada will launch the series with a poetry reading, Q&A and book signing at 7 p.m. Sept. 21 in Hart Chapel. Espada's latest collection of poems is called "Vivas to Those Who Have Failed." Other collections include "The Trouble Ball," Pulitzer Prize finalist "The Republic of Poetry," and "Alabanza." He has received the Shelley Memorial Award, the Robert Creeley Award, the National Hispanic Cultural Center Literary Award, the PEN/Revson Fellowship and a Guggenheim Fellowship. A former tenant lawyer, Espada is a professor of English at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.


Up in the air

A film, "Up in the Air," will be shown at 7 p.m. Sept. 12 in the 7 p.m. in the Suites on Main North Movie Theater. In the film, loner Ryan Bingham is forced to take a colleague on a business trip when she proposes changes to their company, which specializes in firing people. A discussion will follow. 


Roger may

Roger MayThe work of Roger May, an Appalachian American photographer and writer and director of the Appalachian South Folklife Center, will be on display Sept. 5 to Nov. 11 in the University Art Gallery in Carlson Library. May, who's work has been published by The New York Times, The Guardian, The Atlantic, Al Jazeera America, National Geographic, The Oxford American, Le Monde Diplomatique, Photo District News, and others, started the crowdsourced "Looking at Appalachia" project in 2014.

He will give a lecture on Oct. 3  at 7 p.m. in the University Art Gallery in Carlson Library.  There will be a reception in the Gallery from 5-7 p.m. prior to May's presentation.


Food chains

A film, "Food Chains," followed by a presentation, will begin at 7 p.m. Oct. 10  in the Suites on Main North Movie Theater. "Food Chains" reveals the human cost in our food supply and the complicity of large buyers of produce like fast food and supermarkets. The film focuses on an intrepid and highly lauded group of tomato pickers from southern Florida – the Coalition of Immokalee Workers – who are revolutionizing farm labor. Their story is one of hope and promise to ensure a dignified life for farm workers and a more humane, transparent food chain.


Caroline FredricksonCaroline Fredrickson

Caroline Fredrickson, president of the American Constitution Society, will present a lecture and signing of her book, "Under the Bus: How Working Women are Being Run Over," at 7 p.m. Oct. 24 in the 7 p.m. in the Suites on Main North Movie Theater. Fredrickson previously directed the ACLU's Washington legislative office and was general counsel and legal director of NARAL Pro-Choice America. During the Clinton administration, she served as special assistant to the president for legislative affairs.




shiners: the art of the shoe shine

Kevin Tuohy with shoe shine equipment

 November 14, 2017

6 p.m. Shoe Shining Demo in the Suites on Main North Lobby

7 p.m. Screening of Shiners, Directed by Stacy Tenenbaum, in the Suites on Main North Movie Theater

Meet the men and women who make their living cleaning our shoes. From New York to Tokyo and beyond, Shiners travels the world to give you an insider's view of this overlooked profession. People around the world have turned to shoe shining to provide for themselves and their families. These are their stories. Enter their universe. You'll never look at a shoe shiner the same way again!

Discussion with Kevin J. Tuohy, owner of A Shine and Co., to follow screening. Kevin is featured in Shiners and has been shining shoes in New York City and San Francisco for over two decades. His company has been profiled in Esquire, Vanity Fair, and Men's Health.


Automation & the future of work in America

February 6, 2018 - 7 p.m.

Suites on Main North Movie Theater

Will a robot take your job? Join a panel of scholars who dill discuss the mechanics behind automation as well as its impact on the U.S. economy. Panelists will include:

Dr. Vasudeva Aravin - Chemistry, Mathematics & Physics, Clarion Univeristy
Dr. Tony Johns - Management & Marketing, Clarion University
Dr. Chunfei Li - Chemistry, Mathematics & Physics, Clarion University
Dr. Erik Loomis - History, University of Rhode Island
Dr. Kathleen McIntyre, History & Women and Gender Studies, Clarion University will serve as the Moderator.


Temple Grandin Movie Screening (TV-PG)Temple Grandin Movie Poster

March 26, 2018 - 7 p.m.

Suites on Main North Theater 

This award winning HBO biopic follows a young woman's perseverance and determination while struggling with the isolating challenges of autism at a time when it was still quite unknown. The film chronicles Temple's early diagnosis; her turbulent growth and development during her school years; the enduring support she received from her mother, aunt, and her science teacher; and her emergence as a woman with an innate sensitivity and understanding of animal behavior.

Undaunted by education, social and professional roadblocks, Grandin turned her unique talent into a behavioral tool that revolutionized the cattle industry and laid the groundwork for her successful career as an author, lecturer and pioneering advocate for autism and autism spectrum disorder education.

Dr. Temple grandin

March 29, 2018 - 7 p.m.Dr. Temple Grandin

Marwick-Boyd Auditorium

Diagnosed with autism as a child, Temple Grandin eventually earned a Ph.D. in Animal Sciences from the University of Illinois, is a professor at Colorado State University, the author of six books, an autism activist, and was the subject of a 2010 award winning HBO biopic starring Claire Danes.

Dr. Grandin is a firm believer that the world needs all kinds of minds and that her ability to "think in pictures" allows her to solve problems that others can't. She will explain the need for different types of thinkers in the world, provide a first-person view into the mind of someone living on the autism spectrum, and share her struggles in pursuit of the American Dream.

A variety of Grandin's books, ranging in price from $10 to $25, will be available for purchase with cash, check or credit card. Grandin will sign books before and after her talk.

The event is free and open to the public. Seating is limited and is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Doors open at 6:15 p.m. for Clarion University students with valid ID and at 6:30 p.m. for the general public. Parking will be available after 4 p.m. in Lots 11, 12, 14, 16 and R. To view a campus map, click here.

Tawni O'Dell

April 3, 2018 - 7 p.m.

Suites on Main North Movie TheaterTawni ODell picture

Tawni O'Dell is the critically acclaimed New York Times bestselling author of six novels including Back Roads, the Oprah Book Club pick soon to be released as a film starring Alex Pettyfer and Juliette Lewis with a screenplay penned by Tawni. She also wrote and co-produced the popular podcast, Rewrites, a comedy about writers with a serious message about the importance of reading. Her novels have been published in over forty countries and her work has appeared in anthologies, magazines, blogs, and newspapers around the world. Presently, Tawni is in pre-production with her debut Broadway play, A Particular Shade of Green, scheduled to open this season.

Tawni was born and raised in the coal-mining region of western Pennsylvania, the territory she portrays in her novels with such striking authenticity. She attended Northwestern University where she received a degree in journalism and spent many years living in the Chicago area before returning to Pennsylvania where she raised her two children. She now lives in New York.

Last Updated 1/24/19