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Three alumni to speak at College’s Oct. 17 convocation

Barry McNamara
MONMOUTH, Ill. – Three Monmouth College alumni will share their thoughts on “becoming and belonging” at a convocation geared for first-year students in the College’s “Introduction to Liberal Arts” course.

Carmen Alvarado ’02, Frank Clark ’02 and Ken Morris, Jr. ’00 will speak at 11 a.m. Oct. 17 in Dahl Chapel and Auditorium. Free and open to the public, the event will be moderated by one of their former classmates, Regina Johnson ’01, who serves as the College’s director of multicultural students services.

Morris and Clark will also meet with other campus groups, including a talk by Clark on student-athlete wellness at 6 p.m. Oct. 17 in the Huff Athletic Center’s lower-level classroom area.

An increase in the number of convocations is part of a new strategy for ILA, which its coordinator, art professor Stephanie Baugh, called “a holistic first-year experience course.”

“Stephanie has done an outstanding job of planning ILA for the year and coordinating all of the moving pieces,” said Johnson. “This talk by the alumni is the diversity convocation. When Stephanie and I were talking about possible speakers, I mentioned Ken and the work he’s doing, and then Stephanie said, ‘You just gave me an idea,’” to have other alumni be involved, as well.

Morris began his professional career in student affairs as Monmouth’s assistant director of residence life/director of housing and coordinator of intercultural life. Currently, he is the director of equity at Ankeny (Iowa) Community School District. In between, he held three other posts, including diversity resources coordinator at the University of Iowa, where he and his team provided consultation, resource and skill-building opportunities for faculty, staff, students and guests in order to foster an inclusive, respectful and equitable university community.

After graduating from Monmouth, Alvarado earned a master’s degree in clinical professional psychology and is a licensed professional counselor with 17 years of experience in the mental health field. She is the former director of behavioral health admissions for Westlake Hospital in Franklin Park, Ill., and is currently a supervisor at Amita Alexian Brothers Behavioral Health Hospital in Hoffman Estates, Ill.

Clark is a board-certified adult psychiatrist at Prisma Health-Upstate in Greenville, S.C. He also serves as clinical assistant professor at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine-Greenville and medical director and division chief for adult inpatient and consult-liaison services for the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine at Prisma Health. In addition to his psychiatric practice, he was a mental health consultant for a short film, CAP, that recently won the American Black Film Festival/HBO short film award. It will premiere on HBO in 2020 and has been screened in various places, including London.

Clark has not been back on campus since graduation.

“This will be the first time we’ve shared the same space in 17 years,” said Johnson of her former classmates. “We’ve had some conference calls to talk about the convocation, and it’s been fun to share how our relationships with each other and with the campus community impacted us and shaped us into the adults we wanted to become.”