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O'Connor Lecture

The Annual Daniel Patrick O'Connor Memorial Lecture exists to promote the principles of scholarship, research, and volunteerism in the service for social justice. The Daniel Patrick O'Connor Memorial Lectureship Endowed Fund is made possible through generous contributions from Margaret O'Connor, Michael and Kathie O'Connor, and their friends.

2016-17 O'Connor Lecture
Evicted_HC 2

Matthew Desmond

Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Richard F. Celeste Theater
Edith Kinney Gaylord Cornerstone Arts Center, 825 N. Cascade Ave.

MacArthur “Genius” Matthew Desmond’s New York Times bestselling book, Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City, draws on years of embedded fieldwork and painstakingly gathered data. This landmark work of scholarship and reportage takes us into the poorest neighborhoods of Milwaukee to tell the story of eight families on the edge. Arleen is a single mother trying to raise her two sons on the $20 a month she has left after paying for their rundown apartment. Scott is a gentle nurse consumed by a heroin addiction. Lamar, a man with no legs and a neighborhood full of boys to look after, tries to work his way out of debt. Vanetta participates in a botched stickup after her hours are cut. All are spending almost everything they have on rent, and all have fallen behind.

Desmond is John L. Loeb Associate Professor of the Social Sciences and co-director of the Justice and Poverty Project at Harvard University. His primary teaching and research interests include urban sociology, poverty, race and ethnicity, organizations and work, social theory, and ethnography. In 2015, Desmond was awarded his MacArthur “Genius” grant for “revealing the impact of eviction on the lives of the urban poor and its role in perpetuating racial and economic inequality.”

For more information on Matthew Desmond, please visit

Daniel Patrick O'Connor

Dan O'Connor was a student at Colorado College in the fall of 1990 and winter of 1991. A committed social activist, he participated in student campus organizations concerned with environmental issues in ethnic communities as well as other social justice struggles. He participated in the student protests against Battle Mountain Gold's strip mine and cyanide leach mill in the foothills above the Chicano land grant community of San Luis. He also participated in the "alternative spring break" program of the College's Center for Community Service in the San Luis Valley. Dan was committed to workplace democracy, environmental justice, cultural diversity, and social equality.

"I knew that I wanted to change the world at least a little bit.... I didn't believe that any political system could create a good society. 'Change has to come through the heart, not through the mind,' I would say. I wanted to affect people's hearts. I began to paint more and tried to raise my own life to an art form. By this, I mean simply to be as just as possible in my relationships with other people.... I now believe that change can only come through a synthesis of the heart and the mind. I continue to feel an ethical code is necessary to live by, but now I include in this code, political activity.... I am compelled to hit the streets and make my voice heard."

--Daniel Patrick O'Connor, 1991

Past O'Connor Lecturers

2016 -- Jay MacLeod
2015 -- Gary Snyder
2013 -- Roberto Gonzales
2012 -- Josh Fox
2011 -- Reza Aslan
2010 -- Jessica Jackley
2009 -- Alan Weisman
2008 -- Naomi Klein
2007 -- Bill McKibben
2006 -- Jim Wallis
2005 -- Thomas Frank
2004 -- Amy Goodman
2003 -- Nancy Folbre
2002 -- Nancy Fraser
2001 -- Kevin Danaher
2000 -- Jay MacLeod
1999 -- Randall Kennedy
1998 -- Jody Kretzmann
1997 -- William Julius Wilson
1996 -- Gary Snyder
1994 -- Vandana Shiva
1993 -- Richard Moore
1992 -- Robert Bullard