Thomas Mikelson

Thomas Mikelson '58
Minister Emeritus, First Parish and First Church
Past Visiting Lecturer in Ministry at Harvard Divinity School

Mikelson, a 1958 graduate of Cornell College, was the parish minister at First Parish and First Church in Cambridge, Mass., from 1989 to 2006, and he continues on as minister emeritus. He was also a visiting lecturer at Harvard Divinity School, where he earned his Doctorate of Theology, and at the University of Iowa. Mikelson has also been awarded the Martin Luther King, Jr. Freedom Award, granted by the Progressive National Baptist Convention and was the Minns Lecturer in 1993-94, where he delivered six lectures on King, Jr.

During the course of his visit, Dr. Mikelson gave two public lectures on liberation theology: "Black Liberation Theology in the USA: Martin Luther King, Jr. to James Cone" and "Celam, Pope John 23, Gustavo Gutierrez, and Monsenor Oscar Romero: The Beginnings of Latin American Liberation Theology." He spent time in the Chaplain's religion course, Suffering and the Sacred, as well as in an introductory course in sociology, Sociological Perspectives: Structure, Diversity, and Interaction. A highlight of his visit for students was an extensive dinner conversation about careers in theology and social justice.

The visit was co-sponsored by the Chaplain's Office.

Visit date: February 3-5, 2009

Jerry Hildebrand

Jerry Hildebrand '64
Executive Director, Global Center for Social Entrepreneurship
University of the Pacific

Jerry Hildebrand is the first director of the Global Center for Social Entrepreneurship at the University of the Pacific. Previously, Jerry was the CEO for 17 years of the Katalysis Partnership, a microfinance organization that provides training, technical assistance, and credit to non-governmental microfinance institutions (MFIs) in Central America (Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador). Prior to Katalysis, Jerry was the regional field director for International Voluntary Services, based on the island of Antigua, where he directed a socio-economic development program on ten newly independent island-nations in the Eastern Caribbean. His work in grassroots economic development started in Appalachia (West Virginia coal mining region) where he worked for 10 years to develop and direct the first rural Economic Development Corporation in the U.S. to finance community-based business enterprises in a chronically depressed region of the U.S.

Mr. Hildebrand's visit provided insight into the world of microfinance through an interactive workshop, course visits to an International Economic Seminar and in an introductory sociology course, as well as in his public talk, "A New Generation of Social Change Agents." While on campus, he was engaged in conversations about entrepreneurship programs, dined with active members of his fraternity Alpha Chi Epsilon, and enlightened students during a career in social entrepreneurship luncheon.

Mr. Hildebrand's visit was co-sponsored by the Berry Center for Economics, Business, and Public Policy and by the Project on Civic Engagement.

Visit date: March 11-13, 2009