Webinar Bios

Grant H. CornwellGrant H. Cornwell, President, Rollins College
George D. and Harriet W. Cornell Professor of Distinguished Presidential Leadership
Professor of Philosophy

Dr. Grant Cornwell took office as president of Rollins College in July 2015, following eight years as president of The College of Wooster, in Wooster, Ohio.

Nationally recognized for his work in defining liberal learning in a global environment, Cornwell serves on the Council on Foreign Relations' Global Literacy Advisory Board. He chaired the Great Lakes Colleges Association's board of directors and served as president of the North Coast Athletic Conference (Division III). He continues in his role as a member of the board of directors of the Association of American Colleges and Universities. He has also served on the American Council on Education’s Commission on International Initiatives and the national advisory panel for the Association of Governing Boards’ project on Faculty and Institutional Governance. He is a co-author of “An Education for the Twenty-First Century: Stewardship of the Global Commons,” which appeared in AAC&U’s Liberal Education, and has written about multiculturalism, freedom, diversity, and global citizenship.

Recent Initiatives at The College of Wooster under Cornwell’s leadership include:

  • The Center for Diversity and Global Engagement: living/learning community, Multiethnic and International Studies Affairs, Interfaith Campus Ministries
  • The Collaborative Research Environment: supports Wooster’s mission to be America’s premier college for mentored undergraduate research
  • $30-million, 123,000-square-foot, Gold LEED-certified student recreation and fitness facility
  • APEX: Advising, Planning, and Experiential Learning: integrated model for student academic and career advising, planning, and experiential learning.

Prior to his Wooster presidency, Cornwell served as vice president of the university and dean of academic affairs at St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York, for five years. For the previous 16 years, he was a member of St. Lawrence’s philosophy department. He holds a bachelor's degree in philosophy and biology from St. Lawrence, and master's and doctoral degrees in philosophy from the University of Chicago.

Cerri BanksCerri Banks
Dean of Students and Vice President for Student Affairs, Skidmore College

Dr. Cerri Banks is the dean of students and vice president for student affairs at Skidmore College since August 1, 2016.  Previously, she served as vice president for student affairs and dean of the college at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts and as the Dean of William Smith College at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva NY.  In her role at Skidmore Banks is responsible for the academic and social progress of students. She oversees 134 employees and all offices in Student Affairs, including athletics, campus life and engagement, health and wellness, residential life, career development, student diversity programs, and student academic services.  

Banks received her Ph.D. in Cultural Foundations of Education and a Certificate of Advanced Studies in Women’s Studies, both from Syracuse University and specializes in sociology of education, cultural studies, multicultural education, and qualitative research.  Committed to educational reform and issues of inclusion, Banks draws from educational theory, feminist theory, and critical race theory in her work as the dean and in her teaching, research and writing.  Her book Black Women Undergraduates, Cultural Capital and College Success (Peter Lang, 2009) expands the theoretical concept of cultural capital and provides practical ways colleges and universities can recognize and utilize the cultural capital of all students.  She is also the co-author of the edited text, Teaching, Learning and Intersecting Identities in Higher Education (Peter Lang, 2012).  This book utilizes voices of scholars and students from a range of academic disciplines to analyze the ways divergent identities and experiences infiltrate the classroom. Her newest project entitled, “No Justice! No Peace! College Student Activism, Race Relations and Media Cultures” looks at the implications of the changing tides of student activism for college campuses. Banks has produced scores of articles, book chapters, and presentations on culturally relevancy, identity and learning, and other subjects.

Active in key higher-education organizations over the course of her career, Banks has won a wide array of honors, awards, and scholarships. A graduate of Monroe Community College before transferring to Syracuse University, she was inducted into Monroe’s Hall of Fame.

Frederick M. LawrenceFrederick M. Lawrence

Secretary and CEO of the Phi Beta Kappa Society
President Emeritus, Brandeis University

Frederick M. Lawrence is the 10th Secretary and CEO of the Phi Beta Kappa Society, the nation’s first and most prestigious honor society, founded in 1776. Lawrence is a Distinguished Lecturer at the Georgetown Law Center and has previously served as president of Brandeis University, Dean of the George Washington University Law School, and Visiting Professor and Senior Research Scholar at Yale Law School. He was elected to the American Philosophical Society in 2018 and the American Law Institute in 1999.

An accomplished scholar, teacher and attorney, Lawrence is one of the nation’s leading experts on civil rights, free expression and bias crimes. Lawrence has published widely and lectured internationally. He is the author of Punishing Hate: Bias Crimes Under American Law (Harvard University Press 1999), examining bias-motivated violence and the laws governing how such violence is punished in the United States. He is an opinion contributor to The Hill and US News, frequently contributes op-eds to various other news sources, such as Newsweek, The Boston Globe, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Observer, The NY Daily News and The Huffington Post, and has appeared on CNN among other networks.

Lawrence has testified before Congress concerning free expression on campus and on federal hate crime legislation, was the keynote speaker at the meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) on bias-motivated violence, was a Senior Research Fellow at University College London, and received a Ford Foundation grant to study bias-motivated violence in the United Kingdom. Lawrence is a trustee of Beyond Conflict, serves on the Board of Directors of the National Humanities Alliance, the Editorial Board of the Journal of College and University Law, the National Commission of the Anti-Defamation League and the Advisory Board of RANE (Risk Assistance Network + Exchange) and has been a Trustee of Williams College and WGBH.

At Phi Beta Kappa, Lawrence has focused on advocacy for the arts, humanities and sciences, championing free expression, free inquiry and academic freedom, and invigorating the Society’s 286 chapters and 50 alumni associations. As president of Brandeis, Lawrence strengthened ties between the university and its alumni and focused on sustaining the university’s historical commitment to educational access through financial aid. His accomplishments during his presidency included restoring fiscal stability to the university and overseeing record-setting increases in admissions applications, undergraduate financial aid and the university’s endowment. An acclaimed teacher, Lawrence taught an undergraduate seminar on punishment and crime that was one of the most popular undergraduate courses offered at Brandeis. 

Lawrence was widely regarded as a champion of the fine arts. He revitalized the university’s Rose Art Museum, recruited and hired a dynamic new museum director, and commissioned the Light of Reason sculpture, creating a dynamic outdoor space for the Brandeis community.

Prior to Brandeis, Lawrence was dean and Robert Kramer Research Professor of Law at George Washington University Law School from 2005 to 2010. During his time at GW Law, Lawrence recruited the strongest classes in the school’s history, and his five years as dean were five of the six highest fund-raising years in the school’s history. He was Professor of Law at Boston University School of Law from 1988 to 2005, during which time he served as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and received the Metcalf Award for Excellence in Teaching, the university’s highest teaching honor.

Lawrence’s legal career was distinguished by service as an assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York in the 1980s, where he became chief of the Civil Rights Unit. Lawrence received a bachelor’s degree in 1977 from Williams College magna cum laude where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, and a law degree in 1980 from Yale Law School where he was an editor of the Yale Law Journal. 

Sanford J. UngarSanford J. Ungar, Director, The Free Speech Project, Georgetown University
Visiting Lecturer, Harvard College

Sanford J. Ungar, president emeritus of Goucher College, is director of the Free Speech Project at Georgetown University. He has been director of the Voice of America and dean of the School of Communication at American University.  During his journalism career, he was a staff writer for The Washington Post, Washington editor of The Atlantic, managing editor of Foreign Policy magazine, and co-host of “All Things Considered” on NPR. He is the author or editor of six nonfiction books, including The Papers & The Papers: An Account of the Legal and Political Battle over the Pentagon Papers. Ungar earned an AB in Government magna cum laude from Harvard College and a Master’s degree in International History from the London School of Economics. He teaches undergraduate seminars on Free Speech at both Georgetown University and Harvard College.