Kal Penn Announced as Student Lectureship Committee Speaker

Madeline Diamond, Assistant News Editor

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Actor, producer, and former associate director in the White House Office of Public Engagement Kal Penn will speak at the University on Feb. 24 at 7 p.m. at the Weis Center for the Performing Arts.

Penn has been invited to speak at the University by the Student Lectureship Committee. His lecture is entitled “A Conversation about Civic Engagement in America Today.”

“After considering many factors, deliberating, and reviewing the results, we were thrilled to decide on Kal Penn,” Emily Conners ’14, the PR representative for the committee, said.

The committee initially considered 50 speakers and narrowed it down to their top 10 choices, which they sent to students in a survey.

Penn is best known for his roles in television and film, including the “Harold & Kumar” film series, “Superman Returns,” “The Namesake,” “How I Met Your Mother,” “House,” and “24.”

Aside from acting, Penn is very politically involved, previously supporting the Obama campaign and working in the White House as well. As the associate director in the Office of Public Engagement, Penn specifically worked with youth, art, and Asian-American and Pacific Islander communities. The Office of Public Engagement seeks to create opportunities for communication between the public and the administration.

Penn has also taught courses at the University of Pennsylvania in the Asian American Studies Program.

“We feel that Kal will be well-received amongst the students. Students may only know him from his movies and television roles, but he also is involved in politics, which will provide an interesting perspective,” Conners said.

Every year, the Student Lectureship Committee brings one or two speakers that appeal to students at the University.

“Last year, we had such a successful lecture with Olympian Gabby Douglas, and we hope to replicate this success with Kal Penn,” Conners said.

“It is admirable to see someone like Kal work his way into politics all out of pure passion and love for civic engagement. His work has opened my eyes to just how important it is for our youth to be connected to the government, and how no one’s voice should be silenced. I am looking forward to Kal coming to Bucknell—it is definitely an event you do not want to miss,” Student Lectureship committee member Gabby DeRosa ’16 said.

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