Third Annual Lecture Series Kicks Off the New Year

The start of a new school year at college does not just mean the return of dreaded homework assignments, essays and projects, but also opportunities to attend stimulating lectures and events.

This is the case for Manhattan College students, as Student Activities has brought back their popular “lecture series” for a third year in a row. Scattered throughout the entire month of September, students can attend a series of four lectures in the new Student Commons’ great room on the fifth floor.

Kicking off the Third Annual Lecture Series on Monday, Sept. 8 is New York Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman. The following day, Tuesday, Sept. 9, MC will welcome actress and Bronx native Rosario Dawson, who is well known for her roles in “7 Pounds” and the film adaptation of “Rent.” On Wed. Sept. 10, Dic Donohue, a police officer who was shot in the Boston Marathon shooting, along with his wife and MC alum Kim Donohue, will speak. Lastly, on Friday, Sept. 12, Luis Ortiz, reality star of Bravo’s Million Dollar Listing: New York and real estate agent, will wrap up the lecture series.

Actress Rosario Dawson is one of the Third Annual Lecture Series speakers that students are excited to see. Photo from Student Activities.
Actress Rosario Dawson is one of the Third Annual Lecture Series speakers that students are excited to see. Photo from Student Activities.

“We were really looking for a diverse group of speakers,” Director of Student Activities John Bennett said. “Unlike the first year when it was all Olympians, or last year when we were celebrating the college going co-ed, we wanted the lectures this year to reach more genres and interests if possible.”

“If you can find a theme, you win a prize!” Gabrielle Occhiogrosso, Assistant Director of Student Activities, said jokingly.

However, with a little connecting of the dots, there actually is one factor that links all of the speakers together: MC and the diverse city it resides in.

“Brian Cashman works right here in the Bronx, like four or five miles away which is amazing to think about,” Bennett said. “With Dic and Kim, Kim went to school here. So there are a lot of connections to the school.”

Luis Ortiz rules the New York City real estate business and can likely provide important insight on how to “make it” in the city we now call home. And Rosario Dawson, born in the Bronx, is a New York City native.

So although at first glance it appears as though there is no clear theme to the Third Annual Lecture Series, there is one that celebrates the diversity of this great city.

“I actually feel we have the strongest lineup we’ve ever had this year,” Bennett said.

In the past two years, the lecture series has been extremely popular among the student body, so the pressure was definitely on for Student Activities to produce a good lineup for this year.

“There is some sense of pressure, but in a good way,” Occhiogrosso said. “We know that this is something that has been successful and we’re very happy about that and pleased with that. We want to make you guys happy at the end of the day.”

“Now there’s some name recognition to it,” Bennett said. “When you just start something for the first time, nobody knows what it is. Now I feel like the student body understands that it’s one of the annual events at school just like Jasper Jingle or Spring Fling. The lecture series has risen to that level and that’s great. So we want to make sure it is a good event.”

Having announced the lineup for the Third Annual Lecture Series on Twitter earlier in the summer, the response has been overwhelmingly positive.

“I’m so grateful to go to Manhattan College where the Lecture Series is just among the plethora of great opportunities offered to the students. I am really looking forward to seeing Rosario Dawson,” sophomore English and French major Kayli McTague said.

McTague is among many students who are looking forward to the coming Lecture Series.

“With the people we have said it to so far, the feedback has been the greatest we’ve had yet. We put it on Twitter and we’ve gotten a lot of favorites,” Bennett said.

“The tell-tale thing about this is we haven’t gotten any negative feedback, which is excellent. Normally we’ll get some negative feedback, and we haven’t- knock on wood- gotten any.”

There is also a little incentive to attend all four of the lectures this year.

“We’re going to be offering prizes, and really good prizes, for those that attend all the speakers,” Occhiogrosso said. “At the end of the week we’re going to give away autographed Yankees paraphernalia. So we’re definitely going to have amazing prizes for students who show up to all of the events.”

“We’ve put a lot of work into it, and happy students make a happy office for us,” Bennett said.