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Loeb promotes activism during symposium keynote

Author and activist Paul Loeb delivered a keynote address on Thursday, Sept. 27, at Carver PE Center, serving as the centerpiece for Augustana's fall Symposium Day.

Loeb has spent more than 30 years researching and writing about citizen responsibility and empowerment—asking what makes some people choose lives of social commitment, while others abstain.

“I hope the students will gain a sense of their ability to act and create change," Loeb said about his lecture. "That their actions joined with others, really can help shape history, so long as they’re willing to take the risk of trying and then keeping on despite the inevitable setbacks and frustrations.”

Known for motivating others, Loeb explained he draws his inspiration from the people whose stories he tells. “Some I’ve had the privilege to know, and to consider my friends. Others I’ve just read about, or read their words.” Loeb said. “But either way, they create what Nelson Mandela calls ‘the multiplication of courage,’ where one person inspires another and it continues from there.”

Loeb’s writings have appeared in numerous newspapers and journals, including The New York Times, Washington Post and USA Today. His first book, Nuclear Culture, examines the daily life of atomic weapons workers in Handford, Wash. Hope In Hard Times portrays ordinary Americans involved in grassroots peace activism. With Soul of a Citizen, he aims to inspire citizen activists. In 2010, St. Martin’s Press released an updated edition of Soul of a Citizen, which now has 130,000 copies in print.

Loeb lectures regularly and has spoken at more than 400 colleges and universities around the country, including Harvard, Stanford, Dartmouth, Yale, Cornell and Duke. He created and coordinated Campus Compact’s 2008 Campus Election Engagement Project, a non-partisan effort which helped engage three million college students. He’s running the project again for 2012 and is committed to promoting civic engagement in higher education.

Loeb’s visit was supported by The Institute for Leadership and Service and The Stanley Erikson Lectureship in Public Affairs.