Impacting Culture Speaker Series Provides Students with Insights and Networking Opportunities

November 5, 2019 | By Clare Schmidt

This past summer, JPCatholic launched the Impacting Culture Speaker Series to feature industry professionals and thought leaders discussing their insights on creative arts, innovation, and culture. The series, open to both students and the public, has featured Christians professionals working in the entertainment industry, including:

  • Dean Batali, Writer and Producer of That 70’s Show
  • Dan Rupple, Producer of The Price is Right, and Peggy Rupple, Associate Director of the Windrider Forum at Sundance
  • Dan Molina, Senior Editor at Disney
  • Timothy Reckart, Director of Sony Animation’s The Star

Martin Harold, VP of Enrollment and Student Success, commented on the purpose of the series: “We’ve always brought down speakers, but not really as a branded event,” he said. “We really wanted a vehicle to put students in contact with Christians in the industry, who are working in the mainstream, doing really interesting things, and are tangible examples of how you can impact culture through your professionalism and through your craft.”

The Impacting Culture Speaker Series will host three guests each academic quarter. Harold continues, “What we wanted to do with the speaker series is to create a vehicle where we’d have a methodical way of having regular speakers on a regular schedule.”

Not only will the series help students be in contact with professionals in their industry, but will also help them be more confident in their craft. “I think it’s a really great thing for students,” said Harold, “Because when you start seeing people who are doing what you want to do and are living their faith in the industry, I think it takes away a lot of the intimidation factor.”

The speaker series is not only for those interested in entering the media industry. “We would like to broaden it out; we want to bring in entrepreneurs to the series. We also want to bring in thought leaders in the humanities, theologians, people who are thinking about the intersection between the arts and culture.”

The speakers are mainly obtained through the network of the faculty and community at JPCatholic. “The speakers see our mission and what we’re trying to do...We just ask and we’ve been blown away by the generosity.”

The most recent talks have drawn a large crowd, with nearly a third of the student body in attendance. In addition to the lecture and Q&A, the guests have stayed after the talks to speak with students one-on-one and connect on a personal level.

Members of the public are also invited to attend the events and are asked to RSVP on JPCatholic’s website. Information and RSVP for the Winter Quarter speakers will be published soon here.