The LearningLife Forum: Witness to History, a new series from the University of Minnesota College of Continuing Education, begins Oct. 21, 2010, at 7 p.m. with remarks from Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Alan Page ('78) on his career and life experiences.
The monthly Forums will explore people, ideas, and discoveries that have shaped Americans' collective experience, featuring firsthand perspectives on the decisive moments and movements of recent history. The Forums will cover a wide range of topics and offer the opportunity to spend memorable evenings in lively discussions with some of Minnesota's most legendary public figures.
In 1967, Justice Page was a Minnesota Vikings first-round draft pick, and by his fourth game he had earned a starting position. When he left the NFL 15 years later, he had played in 238 straight games, four of them Super Bowls, and all but three of them as a starter. He had earned All-Pro honors six times and All-Conference honors ten times, was named NFL Defensive Player of the Year twice, and received the rare honor for a defensive player of being voted the NFL's Most Valuable Player.
Justice Page grew up in Canton, Ohio, home of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, which he was voted into in 1988. But his mind wasn't entirely on football. As a youngster, he told inductees at this year's Hall of Fame ceremonies, "something inside me was stirred when I read about Brown v. the Board of Education in the newspapers in 1954. I came to learn that law was about solving problems and helping people. That out of it came order in our society and a tool that gave everyone a fair opportunity" (AOL Sports online, Aug. 7).
While still playing in the NFL, Justice Page took on law school as well. He completed his J.D. at the University of Minnesota Law School in 1978, then worked with Lindquist & Vennum and served as Assistant Attorney General. In 1992, he was elected Minnesota's first African-American Supreme Court Justice. In his 1998 re-election, he received the most votes ever cast for a candidate in any Minnesota election. Recently, he selected the three-judge panel and wrote the court decision in the contentious Coleman v. Franken U.S. Senate vote recount.
Justice Page and his wife, Diane, both dedicated supporters of education for minority youth, founded the Page Education Foundation in 1988 which, to date, has helped 4,100 students attend college in exchange for their commitment to mentoring and serving the community. "We have an opportunity, an obligation, really, to do more to inspire others," Page told the 2010 Hall of Fame inductees. "You have to work to make this world a better place, and if you don't do that, what's the point, bronze bust or not?"
Author Bill McGrane's newly released biography All Rise: The Remarkable Journey of Alan Page, with a foreword by former President Bill Clinton, will be available for purchase and signing at the event.
Forums take place on the third Thursday of the month at 7 p.m. in the Continuing Education and Conference Center, St. Paul campus, 1890 Buford Ave. Single tickets are $15; the entire series is $75. For further information or to order tickets, call 612-624-4000 or visit www.cce.umn.edu/learninglife.
More in the series
Nov. 18, 2010: Chris Osgood, the "godfather of the Minneapolis music scene," currently vice president of McNally Smith College of Music, St. Paul
Dec. 16, 2010: John and Sage Cowles, namesakes of the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden's Cowles Conservatory and the Cowles Center for Dance and Performing Arts
Jan. 20, 2011: Walter F. Mondale ('56), one of America's most distinguished public servants, who served Minnesota as State Attorney General and U.S. Senator, and served the nation as U.S. Vice President and Ambassador to Japan. He continues to practice law, teach, and write and told Larry Jacobs, holder of the Walter and Joan Mondale Chair for Political Studies at the University of Minnesota, "I will fight, as I always have, for minorities of all races and religions and sexual orientation, who deserve to share in the fullness of American life."
Mondale's recent autobiography, The Good Fight: A Life in Liberal Politics, due for release in October 2010 from Scribner, will be available for purchase and signing at the event.