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Director Spike Lee and “The Voice” finalist Jamar Rogers will visit Clarion University during the spring 2013 semester as part of the Mary L. Seifert Cultural Series, “Realities of Race.”

Spike Lee Jamar Rogers

Spike Lee, born Shelton Jackson Lee on March 20, 1957, in Atlanta, Ga., was making amateur films by age 20, and won a Student Academy Award for his graduate thesis film. Lee continues to create films that explore provoking topics like race, politics, urban crime and violence. He is also known for his documentaries and commercials. He will give a lecture April 3.

Jamar Rogers was born March 1, 1982, in New Orleans. He showed tremendous talent for singing by age six, but he later became addicted to drugs and tested HIV positive. After six years of being clean from crystal meth, Rogers auditioned for “The Voice,” on which he was a finalist. His first album will be released in late February. He will speak Feb. 5.

The Mary L. Seifert Cultural Series Endowment of the Clarion University Foundation, Inc., was established to provide the Clarion University community with cultural experiences that inspire learning through thoughtful discussions. Last spring, the Mary L. Seifert Cultural Series brought poet and memoirist Dr. Maya Angelou to campus.

Mary L. SeifertSeifert's rich family history with Clarion University can be traced to 1907 with the enrollment of her mother, Sabina Mooney-Seifert, and her uncle, Charles A. Mooney. From 1909 to 1912, her grandfather, John A. Mooney, served as a trustee for the Clarion Normal School. To date at least 18 members of her extended family have graduated from Clarion.

Seifert loved music and the arts. As an investment in young people, she chose to endow a culture and lecture series at Clarion University to ignite the passion for learning that she encouraged.

Seifert received B.S.E. degrees in secondary social studies and geography and a minor in English in 1946 from Clarion State Teachers College. After graduation, she taught for 35 years and retired from Edison Junior High in West Mifflin School District. She was one of the first life members of Clarion University Alumni Association and became an active donor to Clarion University Foundation, Inc., in 1993. In 1998 she received the Clarion University Alumni Association Distinguished Service Award.

Throughout her lifetime Seifert created six endowment funds: Sabina Mooney-Seifert Scholarship Endowment (education), Mary L. Seifert Scholarship Endowment (music), Mary L. Seifert Cultural Lecture Series Endowment, Timothy John Mooney Theater Endowment, Dr. Helen M. Barton Basketball Scholarship, and an endowment to support piano maintenance in the Department of Music. Seifert's estate will add to the Cultural Series Endowment and will create a seventh fund, the Seifert-Mooney Endowment for the Advancement of Clarion University.

In addition to these endowments, she also supported the John A. Mooney, John F. Kuhn, Lyle G. Reinhard and Diane L. Reinhard scholarship endowments, as well as the Center for Advancement and Science & Technology Center campaigns.

The following events are part of the “Realities of Race” series. Most events are free, and all events are open to the public:

  • 7 p.m. Feb. 5, Gemmell multi-purpose room, lecture by Jamar Rogers, a multi-racial former contest on “The Voice” who is HIV positive and a recovering addict (sponsored by University Activities Board, Black Student Union and Northwest AIDS Alliance).

  • 7 p.m. Feb. 18, Gemmell multi-purpose room, lecture by Elaine Penn, inspirational speaker, “Finding Common Ground and Embracing Differences” (sponsored by University Activities Board)

  • 7 p.m. March 26, Gemmell multi-purpose room, The Neighborhood Game: An Illustration of Color-Blind Racism (sponsored by Clarion University Department of Sociology, Race and Ethnic Relations class)

  • 6 p.m. March 27 and 28, April 1 and 2, Gemmell multi-purpose room,  Spike Lee Film Festival. Tickets will be available March 4. For information call 814-393-2245.

  • 8 p.m. April 3, Marwick-Boyd auditorium, lecture by Spike Lee, director. Tickets will be available March 4 at Gemmell information desk, Golden Eagle Landing and online at

  • 7 p.m. April 17, (location TBA), lecture by Dr. Alveda King, civil rights activist and niece of Martin Luther King Jr., “The True Meaning of the Dream”

  • 8 p.m. April 24-27, 2 p.m. April 28, Marwick-Boyd Little Theatre, Edward Albee’s “Seascape.” Tickets are $12 for adults, $9 for children and free for students with valid ID. Call 814-393-ARTS.

Clarion University is the high-achieving, nationally recognized, comprehensive university that delivers a personal and challenging academic experience.

1/25/2013 2:57 PM

Mary L. Seifert Cultural Series brings Spike Lee, Jamar Rogers to campus