McCarthy Center hosts Sean Kershaw as scholar-in-residence

March 11, 2010

Sean KershawSean Kershaw, executive director of the Citizens League, is the third annual scholar-in-residence at the Eugene J. McCarthy Center for Public Policy and Civic Engagement at Saint John's University, Collegeville.

Kershaw will be a part of two public events, which are free and open to the public, during his residency from March 22-26.

He will moderate a public policy debate, "Do New Communication Technologies Enhance Civic Engagement?" at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 23 in the Alumni Lounge, Quadrangle Building, SJU.  Representing the affirmative are SJU student Drew Breyer (first year, Minnetrista, Minn.) and CSB student Faith Xiong (first year, Minneapolis), with CSB student Carrie Vandelac (junior, Oakdale, Minn.) as back-up; representing the negative are SJU students Dan Wolgamott (first year, Elkhorn, Neb.) and Sean Lynch (sophomore, St. Cloud, Minn.), with SJU student Kunihiro Shimoji (first year, Okinawa, Japan) as back-up.

Kershaw will also be part of a panel discussion on "The Culture of Food: Thoughts from the Field" at 6 p.m. Thursday, March 25 in Brother Willie's Pub, Sexton Commons, SJU (doors open at 5:30 p.m.), co-sponsored by 89.3 The Current of Minnesota Public Radio. The discussion focuses on the social, cultural and civic elements of the local food movement. The panel will include Gary Brever, owner of Ploughshare Farm in Parkers Prairie, Minn., which was named Edible Twin Cities magazine's 2009 Local Hero winner for Best Farm; and Diane Veale Jones, professor of environmental studies at the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University, who specializes in food culture and agriculture.

 In 2003, Kershaw became just the sixth president of the Citizens League in its 50-plus-year history. He had been a member of the Citizens League Board of Directors since 1996. Founded in 1952 and based in St. Paul, the Citizens League focuses on public policy issues at the local, metropolitan and state levels. It is an independent, non-partisan organization with over 2,000 members that involves citizens in studying public issues and developing policy solutions.

Prior to joining the Citizens League, he worked for 11 years as deputy director for the City of St. Paul's Department of Planning and Economic Development. He also served as planning coordinator for the Public Housing Authority in his hometown of Omaha, Neb.

While at CSB and SJU, Kershaw will also speak to several classes and visit with faculty and staff.

Kershaw is the third person to serve a McCarthy residency, which showcases the work and skills of someone who has a distinguished career in public service, policy or politics through a week-long on-campus residency. The primary purpose of the residency is to give students at CSB and SJU extended access to someone with real knowledge and wisdom about policy, civic engagement and public life.

Previous residents have included Al Eisele '58, editor-at-large of The Hill and former press secretary to Vice President Walter Mondale; and former U.S. Sen. Dave Durenberger '55.