Daemen University welcomed Emmy-nominated host and New York Times best seller Baratunde Thurston as the keynote speaker for the institution’s 75th anniversary.

This past September, Daemenwas pleased to welcome Emmy- nominated host and New York Times best-selling author Baratunde Thurston to its Amherst campus.

Thurston spoke about justice, racism, and environmental issues, and encouraged the audience to show up and participate; invest in relationships; understand power and its many forms; and see people as a collective group instead of individuals alone.

“We can choose to see our neighbor as a friend, not an enemy,” said Thurston. “We can build something together that not one of us can do on our own.”

The event was intended to “spark discussion about how far we have come in the past 75 years and, more importantly, what type of constructive future we want at the university and beyond,” explained Daniel Shanahan, assistant professor and entrepreneurship program director, in his introduction of Thurston.

Crystal Buchanan, a fourth-year political science student at Daemen, said her main takeaway from Thurston’s speech was that, “When people unite to create change, it doesn’t mean everyone has to think the same way. It just means some of us need to join together in order to help all of us move forward.”

In addition to his address, Thurston met and exchanged ideas with student leaders, faculty, and staff.

“It was inspiring to hear from someone that both looks like me and shares many of the same experiences in having attended a predominately white institution,” said Jevon Jordan ’21, currently completing his Master of Business Administration (MBA) at Daemen. “It was moving to see how he was able to cultivate the experiences he had throughout his life and express that essence of Black culture to the world in such a unique way.”