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Diversity Day Conference

We have been honored and blessed to have a spectacular lineup of Diversity Day Conference Keynote Speakers over the last 18 years. In sharing their remarkable stories, insights and wisdom, they have helped to inspire all of us to be Men and Women with and for Others
See below for a list of our most recent keynote speakers by year.
Please note that the biographies included below were provided to us by the speakers at the time they presented at our conference, so details may have since changed.
 

18th Annual Diversity Conference Keynote: Fr. Hung Pham, SJ

We are honored and thrilled to welcome keynote speaker Fr. Hung Pham, SJ to our 18th annual conference scheduled for February 14, 2023.

Fr. Hung Pham, SJ currently serves as the provincial assistant for Formation of the Central South Province of the USA (UCS). He accompanies young Jesuits; brothers, scholastics and young priests in their intellectual, spiritual and pastoral formation prior to being fully admitted to their final profession. Before moving back to the province, Fr. Pham spent seven years teaching Ignatian Spirituality at the Jesuit School of Theology at Santa Clara University in California. A Jesuit for 26 years, he taught biology and chemistry at St. Louis University High School and served as a teacher-trainer with the Jesuit Refugee Services in Thailand before studying to be ordained to the priesthood. Ministerially and pastorally, he has lectured and led seminars on different Ignatian themes and topics as well as directed numerous Ignatian workshops and retreats in Belize, Canada, Singapore, Spain, Thailand and Vietnam.
Learn more about Fr. Hung Pham, SJ

List of 9 items.

  • 2022: Gloria Purvis

    "To See All Things New In Christ"

    Gloria Purvis is an author, commentator and the host of The Gloria Purvis Podcast hosted by AMERICA Media. Through her media presence, she has been a strong Catholic voice for life issues, religious liberty and racial justice. She has appeared in various media outlets including The New York Times, The Washington Post, PBS Newshour, EWTN News Nightly, and Catholic Answers Live and hosted Morning Glory, an international radio show. Listen to The Gloria Purvis Podcast
  • 2021: Dr. Cornel West, Dr. Robert George, Mr. Theo Wilson and Ms. Penny Nisson

    Due to the COVID pandemic, the 2021 conference was held online and included multiple featured speakers.

    "Race & The Digital Divide", "Is Civil Discourse Dead" and "Propaganda and Personal Responsibility"


    Theo Wilson is a founding member of the Denver Slam Nuba team, who won the National Poetry Slam in 2011.  He began his speaking career in the N.A.A.C.P. at the age of 15 and has always had a passion for social justice.  He attended Florida A&M University, where he obtained his bachelor's degree in theater performance.  He returned to Denver and is now the Executive Director of Shop Talk Live, Inc.  The organization uses the barbershop as a staging ground for community dialogue and healing.  After viral video success beginning in 2015, Theo grew his social media following to well over 68,000 people.  Due to audience demand, he published his first book in 2017, The Law of Action. The book addresses some of the misconceptions about the law of attraction and the role direct action plays into manifestation. It can be found on Amazon.com, or his website, TheoWilson.net. In 2017, his TED Talk entitled, A Black Man Goes Undercover in the Alt-Right, was seen worldwide, amassing a total of over 12 million views.  He has been featured on BuzzFeed, CNN, Good Day Canada, and TV One. Learn More

    Penny Nisson is the Director of Education for Mizel Museum in Denver, Colorado.  She works as an educator and has taken on various roles at the museum for the past 24 years. Teaching about empathy and the Golden Rule continues to drive her involvement in education. She interacts with principals, teachers and staff in schools and organizations across the state. Her professional responsibilities include attendance at meetings and workshops for organizations such as the Scientific and Cultural Collaborative, Council of American Jewish Museums, Colorado Holocaust Educators and the Coalition Against Global Genocide.  Learn More

    Rudi Florian was born to devout Catholics in 1934 in a small town in what was East Germany near the Polish border. In school, his teachers were mostly Nazis and books contained Nazi propaganda. When Rudi was 10, he had to serve in the Hitler Youth until his mother came up with an excuse to have him released. His family fled to Poland and, after the war, went to East Berlin where Rudi encountered Communist propaganda.  After seeing a documentary on the Holocaust, Rudi made a pledge to "join those who warned that genocide can happen again to any group of people anywhere." He immigrated to Canada and then the United States where he served in the US Air Force for 30 years. After retiring, Rudi became a Holocaust historian and worked at the Holocaust & Intolerance Museum of New Mexico. In Denver, Rudi has been an educator with the Mizel Museum since 2012 and speaks mainly to students about the importance of remembering the Holocaust and reminding them of the value of human rights and the sanctity of life. He is the recipient of the Eternal Flame Award for his service to humanity. Learn More

    Dr. Cornel West is a prominent and provocative democratic intellectual. He has been Professor of the Practice of Public Philosophy at Harvard University and is professor emeritus at Princeton University. He has also taught at Union Theological Seminary, Yale, Harvard, and the University of Paris. Cornel West graduated magna cum laude from Harvard in three years and obtained his M.A. and Ph.D. in philosophy at Princeton. He has written 20 books and edited 13. He is best known for his classics, Race Matters and Democracy Matters, and for his memoir, Brother West: Living and Loving Out Loud. His most recent book, Black Prophetic Fire, offers an unflinching look at 19th- and 20th-century African-American leaders and their visionary legacies. Learn More

    Dr. Robert George is McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence and Director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University. He has served as chairman of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom and on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and the President’s Council on Bioethics. He has also served as the U.S. member of UNESCO’s World Commission on the Ethics of Scientific Knowledge and Technology. He was a Judicial Fellow at the Supreme Court of the United States, where he received the Justice Tom C. Clark Award. A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Swarthmore, he holds the degrees of J.D. and M.T.S. from Harvard University and the degrees of D.Phil., B.C.L., D.C.L., and D.Litt. from Oxford University, in addition to 22 honorary doctorates. He is a recipient of the U.S. Presidential Citizens Medal, the Honorific Medal for the Defense of Human Rights of the Republic of Poland, the Canterbury Medal of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty and Princeton University’s President’s Award for Distinguished Teaching. His books include Making Men Moral: Civil Liberties and Public Morality and In Defense of Natural Law (both published by Oxford University Press), as well as The Clash of Orthodoxies and Conscience and Its Enemies (both published by ISI Books). Learn More
     
  • 2020: Sr. Helen Prejean, CSJ

    "Walking with People"

    Sr. Helen Prejean, CSJ is known around the world for her tireless work against the death penalty. Her commitment to social justice was ignited in 1982 after she began corresponding with Patrick Sonnier, a prisoner on death row. Two years later, she witnessed his execution and that of another death row inmate, Robert Lee Willie. Afterward, she realized that this inhumane ritual, usually performed away from the eyes of the public, would remain unchallenged until its secrecy was stripped away. Her book, Dead Man Walking: An Eyewitness Account of the Death Penalty in the United States, did just that when it was published, opening a national debate on capital punishment and inspiring an Academy Award-winning movie, a play, and an opera. 
     
    Following the publication of Dead Man Walking, Prejean embarked on a speaking tour that has lasted over 35 years. She gives around 100 talks annually across the United States and beyond in her continued campaign to educate the public about the death penalty. Her extraordinary talks bring audiences with her on her journey from a comfortable, middle-class life to the projects of New Orleans, where she began her work to support the victims of crime as well as the perpetrators. Inspiring religious and secular audiences alike, she urges listeners to seek the truth, love ardently, and meet, head-on, the suffering world. Learn More
     
  • 2019: Ms. Carlotta LaNier

    "The Little Rock Nine: My Story and Experience"

    Carlotta LaNier is the youngest member of the Little Rock Nine, who in 1957, crossed the lines to attend a previously segregated school. Through sharing her story of stepping up to the front lines in the battle for civil rights for all Americans, and discussing what it is to have courage and hope, we can learn about the major impact that followed their decision. Learn More
     
     
  • 2018: Mr. Stephen Brackett

    "Change Makers for the Future"

    Stephen Brackett (Brer Rabbit) finds bliss in using the myth of the Trojan Horse as a blueprint for sustainable practice. In 2008 his band Flobots snuck a critique-based single onto the airwaves in the form of the hit song “Handlebars”, parlaying that momentum into grassroots organizing, coalition building and fundraising.  

    Stephen is a co-founder and board member of Youth on Record, a non-profit that brings music classes back to schools that are currently deprived of such programs. He currently serves on the Mayor’s Arts and Culture Commission and the Bohemian Nights Music District Advisory council. In the summer of 2015, he helped pilot an art and literacy curriculum for the Boulder County Jail that is on track to being adopted statewide. 
  • 2017: Mr. Danny Diaz and Coach Jim White

    "McFarland USA: Inclusion and Acceptance in Sports, High School and Life"

    Danny Diaz was born in 1971 to humble farmworkers and is the second of seven children. Like most Mexican-American families that lived in McFarland, Danny grew up poor with many hardships. Working in the field along with his parents, along with running cross country, Danny learned discipline, a strong work ethic, the importance of having a positive attitude, perseverance and goal-setting, and how it played a major role in directing his path towards education. 

    Today, Danny is an at-risk counselor at the very same school where he won a Cross Country State Championship.  He devotes his life to working with at-risk students as many of these students need guidance and direction.  He’ll spend the rest of his days encouraging young people to dream big and not let failures keep them down.  


    Coach Jim White was born in Texas, grew up in California, and attended college in Idaho and California. He graduated from Pepperdine University in 1964 with a major in Physical Education and a minor in Life Science. Upon his graduation, he moved his family to McFarland, CA, for his first teaching job, where he taught for 40 years. He taught 5th-grade science for the first nine years and finished his career teaching 7th and 8th-grade physical education at the junior high school. In 1980 McFarland Schools unified which allowed Coach White to coach at McFarland High School. He started the Cross Country Program in 1980 with both a boys and girls team. Because of the growth of the program, in 1986 a girls coach was added. The very first California State Competition was in 1987. The McFarland team won that year and went on to win a total of nine State Championships. They were the only school in California to hold that accomplishment until Coach White retired in 2002. Some of Coach White’s special recognitions include: "California Coach of the Year", "McFarland Teacher of the Year". He has been on many "Hall of Fame" lists and has been Coach of the Year more than once. 
  • 2016: Mr. Ian Humphrey

    "It's Not About The Knockdown"

    Ian Humphrey grew up in South Central Los Angeles, two blocks from where the Crips street gang was founded. He failed to recognize the opportunities before him because he was blinded by the “smog” of influence from his peers. As a result, at the age of 19, Ian was sentenced to 15 years in prison. While incarcerated, he made the most of his opportunity to change his life. After receiving an early release 20 years ago, Ian not only continues to make the most of every opportunity but works with others to do the same.

    Today, Ian is a loving husband, father of four beautiful children, two of whom attended the Regis Jesuit Girls Division. He is the author of the book, It’s Not About The Knockdown and is the General Manager of Highline Metals in Aurora and the CEO of his own business. Learn More
  • 2015: Rabbi Abie Ingber

    "Inter-Faith Dialogue"

    Rabbi Abie Ingber is the Executive Director of the Center for Interfaith Community Engagement at Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio, a visiting associate professor of theology at Xavier, and special assistant to its President, Fr. Michael Graham, S.J. Rabbi Ingber has received numerous awards and well-earned recognition for his work in inter-religious dialogue. He has served as a scholar in residence throughout the United States and in Poland, Israel and Cameroon. Together with two colleagues, Rabbi Ingber created the award-winning exhibit, “A Blessing to One Another: Pope John Paul II and the Jewish People.” The exhibit opened in 2005 and toured 18 major American cities. His exhibit opened at the Vatican in September of 2015. Rabbi Ingber’s creatively articulated passion for life and Tikkun Olam (Healing the World) has brought him to meetings with American Presidents, Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI, Elie Wiesel, Reverend Jesse Jackson, CEOs of major American corporations, and Miep Gies (Meep Geese), the woman who tried to save Anne Frank. ​ 

    Rabbi Ingber is the father of four daughters - one in the corporate world, two in the non-profit world and one in the world of farming.  Learn More
     
  • 2014: Mr. David Cooks

    "Risking for Change: Creating Young Men and Women Who Live Life in Reflection, Compassion and Informed Action"

    David Cooks experienced a spinal aneurysm at the age of 15, leaving him a T-6 paraplegic and a wheelchair user. His ability to overcome obstacles and to achieve success in the face of adversity is what makes his story inspiring and motivating to others. 
     
    Almost in the blink of an eye, David's world went from a rising star in high school basketball to living in a rehab facility facing a lifetime of paralysis. David chose not to be a victim, rather accepting and embracing his new reality as a paraplegic to face life head-on. His story has inspired people all over the world.  
     
    David is an author, speaker, voice talent, podcast host and management consultant. David received his Master of Business Administration in Finance from Duke University and his Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance from The University of Wisconsin –Whitewater. His career path includes time spent in Banking, Finance, Education and Athletics. 
      
    David has spent nearly 25 years in education, including 17 years teaching at his alma mater, Marquette University High School in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. While at Marquette University High School, David taught Economics and he also served as the Director of Diversity, The Coordinator of Academic Support, and served 11 years as the Head Varsity Boys Basketball Coach and recorded a record of 155-92. 
    ​ 
    David served as an assistant coach at Concordia University in Mequon Wisconsin from 2013-to 2018. The highlight of David’s coaching career is his time spent at Duke University working for Hall of Fame Coach Mike Krzyzewski, and being a member of the coaching staff for USA East Coast Basketball in the summer of 2014, joining Frank Martin and Guy Rancourt in Estonia and Finland. Learn More

What is Diversity Day?

Diversity Day is one that we consider to be an intrinsic part of the overall education that we offer here at Regis Jesuit. Our mission is to educate the whole student with the goal of forming students who are open to all of the complexities of our world—a key component in the overall Regis Jesuit experience.

On Diversity Day, which takes place in February or March each year, students spend the entire day outside of normal class schedules choosing three workshops to attend that offer a mix of inspiring, complex and eye-opening personal stories and life experiences and provide a unique perspective on the world beyond our campus. There are also sessions that offer a fun and culturally enriching experience—such as making Chinese dumplings or learning the Brasilian Samba— encouraging students to learn about and embrace this amazing and diverse world we live in. Diversity Day is a cherished and favored day for students and presenters alike.

To see a full lineup of presenters and the variety of workshops offered to students, we invite you to view the 2022 Diversity Day Conference Workshop list

 

Boys Division

Regis Jesuit High School

Girls Division

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