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Lenoir-Rhyne's Lives Worth Living speaker series features Susan M. Glisson
Lenoir-Rhyne's Lives Worth Living speaker series features Susan M. Glisson

Lenoir-Rhyne University's Lives Worth Living speaker series will continue its 2018-19 speaker series with The Reverend Dr. Susan M. Glisson, Thursday, Nov. 1, at 7 p.m. at Grace Chapel.

A native of Evans, Georgia, Glisson is co-founder and partner of Sustainable Equity, LLC, a minority and female-owned consulting firm based in Mississippi. She earned bachelor's degrees in religion and in history from Mercer University, a master's degree in southern studies from the University of Mississippi, and a doctorate in American studies from the College of William and Mary. Her focus is social justice, and she has been working to change conditions that have created a legacy of inequities for more than 20 years.

Glisson works with organizations seeking to make the greatest collective impact in creating inclusive social environments and to develop the capacity to form sustainable community trust. This work includes workshops, retreats, research as a basis for building networks, and communities of practice to increase individual learning and collective action for social justice.


As founding director of the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation, an internationally recognized civil rights and social justice center located at the University of Mississippi, Glisson cultivated lasting partnerships with organizations promoting reconciliation and improved community relations both across the United States and in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and in South Africa. In addition, she supported impoverished communities in the Mississippi Delta and co-founded a faith-based social justice organization devoted to affordable housing and local empowerment. In 2006, she co-created the Steps Coalition, a broad-based, multiracial group on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, founded in the wake of Hurricane Katrina to secure affordable housing, equitable economic recovery, and environmental sustainability.

Glisson has been widely recognized for her leadership, including, The Fannie Lou Hamer Institute Humanitarian of the Year in 2012 and the International Award for promoting civil and human rights around the world from the International Organization of Human Rights Agencies in 2012. Glisson was named by Southern Living in 2013 as a "Hero of the New South" and was featured in September 2016, on NPR as a "Boundbreakers: People Who Make a Difference."

Glisson currently serves as a member of the national advisory board to the Myrlie Evers-Williams Institute for Elimination of Health Disparities at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, as well as the Mississippi State Advisory Committee on the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum. She also chairs the Mississippi State Advisory Committee: United States Commission on Civil Rights and is an international researcher for the Apartheid Archive Project at the University of the Witwatersrand.

In 2016, Glisson retired from the Winter Institute to start Sustainable Equity with co-founder and partner Charles H. Tucker. Visit sustainableequity.net to learn more about the presenter.

The 2018-19 Lives Worth Living speaker series will continue with the following presenters:

Feb. 4, 2019, 7 p.m., Grace Chapel – Marlon F. Hall is a lecturing anthropologist and storyteller who uses film, art installations, salon dinner parties, and yoga to unearth beauty from brokenness.

March 25, 2019, 7 p.m., Grace Chapel – The Reverend Elizabeth Eaton is the first female presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

The event is free and open to public. For more information, visit lr.edu/publicevents or contact Mindy Makant, Ph.D., LR associate professor of religious studies and director of the Living Well Center, at mindy.makant@lr.edu or by calling 828.328.7188.

Established in 2018, the LR Living Well Center for Vocation and Purpose strives to engage students, faculty, and staff in the ongoing discernment of vocation and purpose. The Living Well Center for Vocation and Purpose hosts the speaker series: Lives Worth Living. Speakers, including theologians, bishops, artists, and advocates for justice, will share their vocational stories and encourage participants to think in new ways about what makes one's own life meaningful and purpose-filled.