Speaker kicks off Cultural Enhancement Series

Katherine Wade

On this day 518 years ago, Christopher Columbus discovered the Americas. This event would forever shape the culture of American societies.

Tonight Richard Rodriguez, author of “Hunger of Memory: The Education of Richard Rodriguez,” spoke about that and other immigration issues in the world today.

Rodriguez’s lecture was part of the 2010-2011 Cultural Enhancement Series, which brings a diverse group of speakers and performances throughout the year.

Speaking to a large crowd in Van Meter Auditorium, Rodriguez talked about our global society, acceptance between cultures and his appetite for international cuisine, among other topics.

Mina Doerner, coordinator for the Cultural Enhancement Committee, said Rodriguez was a very relevant speaker for WKU because of the university’s growing international reach.

“We have such a global society, even in Bowling Green,” she said. “His message speaks about what that means to students.”

Doerner said she hoped students would be encouraged to expand their horizons both with people and travel.

Russellville junior Jonathan Noe said the speech inspired him to study abroad to meet new people and experience other cultures.

“If we don’t go out and meet people, we’ll be the ones sitting in the dark,” he said.

Some of Rodriguez’s books were for sale after the lecture and he offered book signing.

Louisville sophomore Kelsey Mattingly said her Honors English 300 class read some of Rodriguez’s writings and she was required to attend the lecture for the class.

“I thought he was a really amazing speaker,” she said. “People definitely need to get out of their comfort zones and immigrate into different groups, especially because Bowling Green is becoming more and more international.”

Rodriguez’s speech was the first event in this year’s series, which is in its 13th season. The next event, entitled Masters of the Fiddle, will be Wednesday, Nov. 17. It will feature Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy.