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Celluloid Activist: The Life and Times of Vito Russo

In honor of esteemed alumnus the Reverend Dr. William R. Johnson, class of '68, Elmhurst College has named its annual LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender) lecture the William R. Johnson Guestship. Rev. Johnson is vice president of member relations at the Council for Health and Human Service Ministries of the United Church of Christ. In 1972, he became the first openly gay person in modern history to gain ordination to the mainstream Christian ministry. A resident of Cleveland, he returns to Elmhurst College frequently to work with faculty, staff, and students on issues related to health, education, and human rights.

Michael Schiavi will present the keynote lecture of this inagural William R. Johnson Guestship. Schiavi is the author of Celluloid Activist: The Life and Times of Vito Russo, a biography of the prominent AIDS activist who was one of the LGBT community’s significant cultural figures in the 1970s and ’80s. A professor of English at the New York Institute of Technology, Dr. Schiavi will speak about Russo’s life and impact on the LGBT community.

Elmhurst College is a leading liberal arts college located eight miles west of Chicago. The College’s mission is to prepare its students for meaningful and ethical work in a multicultural, global society. Elmhurst College fosters learning and enriches culture through innovation, scholarship, and creative expression. Approximately 3,400 full- and part-time students are enrolled in its 22 undergraduate academic departments and nine graduate degree programs.

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