The Alvin P. Gutman Public Scholar Lecture

The Alvin P. Gutman Public Scholar Lecture is an annual lecture hosted by Civic House.  Each year we invite an engaged scholar or practitioner to bring new ideas and ask critical questions to help students and the University of Pennsylvania community be more effective in our work for social change.

Alvin P. Gutman served as President and Chairman of Pressman-Gutman Company for fifty years and was honored by his industry as Man of the Year. He lived out his primary philanthropic interests related to healthcare and education. Among others, he served on the boards of the Philadelphia Free Library, Albert Einstein Healthcare Foundation, and Philadelphia University, where he was presented with the Lifetime Innovation Award in 2010. 

Mr. Gutman received many honors for his involvement in Philadelphia, but he was particularly elated to be recognized by Operation Understanding, a local organization that focuses on bridging cultural divides between African American and Jewish youth and creating compassionate and effective community leaders.

Mr. Gutman was immensely proud of his grandchildren, four of whom have gone to Penn and one of whom participated in the Civic Scholars Program through Civic House.




Dr. John L. Jackson, Jr.

2015 Annual Lecture

Critical Citizenship: Learning from the Protests of 2014

John L. Jackson, Jr., is Dean of the School of Social Policy & Practice. Jackson received his BA in Communication (Radio/TV/Film) from Howard University and his PhD in Anthropology from Columbia University. He spent three years as a junior fellow at the Harvard University Society of Fellows, and four years teaching in Duke University's Department of Cultural Anthropology and Center for Documentary Studies. He is the author of Racial Paranoia: The Unintended Consequences of Political Correctness (Basic, 2008) and Real Black: Adventures in Racial Sincerity (University of Chicago Press, 2005).

Dr. Jackson is also one of the founding members of CAMRA and PIVPE, two University of Pennsylvania-based initiatives organized around creating visual and performative research projects and producing rigorous criteria for assessing them.

Watch the video

View the program



David stovall, pH.D.



David Stovall, Ph.D. is Professor of Educational Policy Studies and African-American Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). His scholarship investigates four areas 1) Critical Race Theory, 2) concepts of social justice in education, 3) the relationship between housing and education, and 4) the relationship between schools and community stakeholders. In the attempt to being theory to action, he has spent the last ten years working with community organizations and schools to develop curriculum that address issues of social justice. His current work has led him to become a member of the Greater Lawndale/Little Village School of Social Justice High School design team, which opened in the Fall of 2005. Furthering his work with communities, students, and teachers, Stovall is involved with youth-centered community organizations in Chicago, New York and the Bay Area. Currently this work manifests itself in his involvement with the Peoples Education Movement Chicago, a collection of classroom teachers, community members, students and university professors who engage in collaborative community projects centered in creating relevant classroom based pedagogical strategies and curriculum. In addition to his duties and responsibilities as a professor at UIC, he also serves as a volunteer social studies teacher at the Greater Lawndale/Little Village School for Social Justice.