In response to the University’s cancellation of all large public gatherings and to support the effort to reduce the spread of the Coronavirus, the Frances Willson Thompson Critical Issues luncheons and Sullenger Dialogues scheduled for Wednesday, March 25 and Thursday, April 9 are both being cancelled. Due to the uncertainty regarding the duration of recommended precautions, we will not be rescheduling these events.

We are working to implement a refund process for the tickets and/or tables you purchased for these two events. If you would prefer to donate your refund to the program(s) of your choice at UM-Flint, please let us know by Friday, March 20. If you have questions about doing so, please reach out to one of the UA staff members listed below for assistance. After March 20, we will initiate the refund process by refunding your costs to the credit card used to make the purchase. If you paid by check, it may take a couple of weeks for you to receive your refund via a check in the mail.

We would like to thank you for your continued support of the University of Michigan-Flint and for your understanding during these challenging times. Please know we are also working to finalize the details for a tremendous 2020-2021 Critical Issues speaker series and hope to see all of you in the fall.

Thank you,

B.J. Hull
Vice Chancellor for University Advancement
University of Michigan – Flint
432 N. Saginaw St., Suite 1001
Flint, MI 48502
(810) 424-5474, 

University Advancement Contacts:
Pam Zemore, Critical Issues Lead
(810) 424-5485,

Brent Nickola, A ssoc. Dir. of Alumni Engagement and Annual Giving
(810) 424-5249,

Melissa Stephens-Farrell, Major Gifts Officer
(810) 424-5480,

Ellen Brothers, Major Gifts Officer
(810) 424-5482,

CIF 2019-20: Truth

what is truth?

The question is of supreme interest to philosophers, scientists, journalists, voters, and parents presiding over a sibling dispute.

Can assertions about the future be true right now? Can we ever really know another individual’s personal truth? Have advancements in technology impacted our ability to discern what’s true? And is societal change even possible if society cannot agree on the truth of our reality?

Within this contested and ever-shifting context, speakers at this year’s Critical Issues Forum shed light on the power, peril, and consequences of our collective pursuit of truth.

Kick Off Event: Jonathan Mannion & Tunde Olaniran

true moments

Thursday, September 19, 2019, 6:30 p.m., UM-Flint Theatre

Photography and music are ways to capture and share vantage points on reality.

Jonathan Mannion is a photographer who focuses his camera on musicians like Jay-Z, Lil Wayne, and DJ Khaled.

Tunde Olaniran is a genre defying songwriter/ performance artist — and UM-Flint alumnus — whose body of work spans multiple disciplines.

Through dialogue and performance, the two will launch this year’s Critical Issues Forum series with a multimedia examination of art and truth.

2019-20 Critical Issues Forum Speakers

Jose Antonio Vargas

Jose Antonio Vargas

true american

October 9, 2019

By sharing his truth — as well as the personal stories of countless other undocumented immigrants in America — Jose Antonio Vargas explores one of the most divisive questions facing our country today: how do you define “American”?

Jose Antonio Vargas will sign copies of his book Dear America: Notes of an Undocumented Citizen in Park Place following the luncheon.

Brittany Packnett

Brittany Packnett

hold true

November 21, 2019

Brittany Packnett is an unapologetic educator, activist, writer, and social justice leader. She was a member of the Ferguson Commission and President Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing. She continues to advocate for systemic change in protest, policy, and the media.


David Sheff

true understanding

March 25, 2020

David Sheff is the influential journalist and author of Beautiful Boy, a compassionate investigation of the disease of addiction inspired by his son Nic’s battle with substance abuse. The book was made into a film starring Steve Carell and Timothée Chalamet.

David Sheff will sign copies of his book Beautiful Boy in Park Place following the luncheon.

Naomi Klein

Naomi Klein

urgent truth

April 9, 2020

With clear-eyed critique and plain language, award-winning writer Naomi Klein unpacks the ways global economic policies impact real people and our planet. Her latest book argues urgent action is needed to address climate change and create a just, thriving society.

Naomi Klein will sign copies of her book On Fire: The (Burning) Case for a Green New Deal in Park Place following the luncheon.