Campus Theme

The Compelling Questions We All Face

The Campus Theme program facilitates and coordinates a host of events, lectures, and discussions centered around an enduring and ultimate question of human experience—a fresh question each academic year. Events are open to the general public.

2015–2016 Campus Theme: What Is Truth?

Unless otherwise noted, all Campus Theme events will be held in Anderson Chapel on North Park's Chicago campus. Get directions to our campus or download a campus map.

Juan Felipe Herrera

United States Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera

November 12-13

Juan Felipe Herrera is the 21st Poet Laureate of the United State (2015-2016) and is the first Latino to hold the position. From 2012 to 2014, Herrera served as California State Poet Laureate. Herrera’s many collections of poetry include Notes on the Assemblage; Senegal Taxi; Half of the World in Light: New and Selected Poems, a recipient of the PEN/Beyond Margins Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award; and 187 Reasons Mexicanos Can’t Cross The Border: Undocuments 1971–2007. He is also the author of Crashboomlove: A Novel in Verse, which received the Americas Award. His books of prose for children include: SkateFate, Calling The Doves, which won the Ezra Jack Keats Award; Upside Down Boy, which was adapted into a musical for young audiences in New York City; and Cinnamon Girl: Letters Found Inside a Cereal Box. Herrera is also a performance artist and activist on behalf of migrant and indigenous communities and at-risk youth.

Herrera joins North park University and our Campus Theme program for a two-day engagement in November. Along with private student events, the following are offered free to the community and open to the public.

Thursday, November 12

7:00 pm, Isaacson Chapel (Nyvall Hall)
Join Herrera for a poetry reading, book signing, and question and answer session.

Friday, November 13: Truth Telling and the Role of the Artist in Society

10:30 am, Anderson Chapel

Poet, artist, and activist Juan Felipe Herrera will address the role of the artist in speaking the hidden and difficult truths in society. Through creativity and empathy, Herrera helps us hear the cries of those suffering injustice and the songs of those celebrating life. He makes these truths visible through stories, not statistics, and by imagination, not ideologies. As the son of Mexican migrant workers, and the first Latino poet laureate in our nation’s history, Juan Felipe Herrera has spent a lifetime doing the work of intercultural dialogue through the work of the artistic creation. His work challenges us to do the same.

Gerardo Cardenas

Truth as Strange as Fiction: Lessons from Our Lady of the Viaduct

Friday, October 9

Author Gerardo Cárdenas will join us on campus to discuss his work, Our Lady of the Viaduct, this year's North Park Common Read. "As a writer, I want to point out that truth is elusive, changing, and ambiguous depending on your vantage point, your background, your ideology, your faith, your interests, etc.," Cárdenas says. "Where does that leave the reader?"

Gerardo Cárdenas is a Mexico City-born writer and journalist. He lived in Mexico City, Miami, Washington, D.C., Brussels and Madrid before settling down in the Chicago area in 1989. He currently is the editorial director for contratiempo, the only Spanish-language cultural and literary magazine in the Midwest. His poems, short stories, and articles have been published in print and electronic media outlets, as well as anthologies in Mexico, the United States, Spain, Venezuela, Chile, and the Dominican Republic. He won the Premio Interamericano Carlos Montemayor 2013 and has twice won the John Barry Spanish Short Fiction Award (2004, 2007). In 2011 he published A veces llovia en Chicago (Vocesueltas/Magenta), a collection of short fiction. A second short fiction book and a first book of poetry are soon to be published. Gerardo also publishes the weekly literary blog En la Ciudad de los Vientos.

Related Events

Regarding Truth portraits

Regarding Truth in Portraiture and Painting: A Conversation with Catherine Prescott and Tim Lowly

Thursday, September 17

In a discussion led by Dr. John Laukaitis, artists Catherine Prescott and Tim Lowly reflect on the idea of truth in relation to art, with a focus on their recent work.

Catherine Prescott's exhibition person: recent intimate portraits was featured in the Carlson Tower Gallery through Friday, September 18. Tim Lowly's exhibition re. Rainbow Girl was in the Fine Arts Center Gallery of Northeastern Illinois University through Friday, September 18.

This event is presented in conjunction with the University's Campus Theme committee and the new North Park University Creative Guild.