Bill Cosby Captivates Capacity Crowd at April 2 College Lecture
Legendary Comedian/TV Star Presents as Part of USG’s Prestigious Speaker Series
As a youngster, Diana Dominguez ’16 grew up glued to the television, her brother in tow, watching Bill Cosby’s television shows Little Bill and The Cosby Show. Last week, Dominguez had a better perspective to watch the celebrated comedian and TV star, just 15 feet from the man who made the Huxtable family and JELL-O pudding pops famous. The Spanish major has an Instagram photo to prove it!
On April 2, Dominquez was part of an estimated 1,500 students, faculty, staff and alumni at Moravian College to watch Cosby present as part of the United Student Government's Prestigious Speaker Series. Cosby discussed issues of leadership and his life’s journey during the exclusive lecture for the College community. (To view the College's gallery from Cosby's lecture, click here.)
As Dominquez and others might have expected from the legendary funnyman, the 76-year-old Cosby flipped the script on the audience, not following a planned lecture, but taking questions to “craft a performance.”
Impressively, one question from the audience provided enough direction to often power Cosby into a 15-20 minute response. During the course of the evening, the audience learned how Cosby transformed himself from a directionless adolescent to a man thirsty to learn, dreaming of teaching seventh- and eighth-graders. He eventually earned his doctorate in education.
Additionally, Cosby spoke a great deal about his late mother, Anna Pearl Cosby, as well as his childhood growing up in the projects and his military career in the Navy.
“I was very impressed by his ability to get to important points or messages he wanted his audience to take away from hearing him speak,” said Katie E. O'Rourke '14, a Moravian mathematics major. “A single question from an audience member could prompt a 30-minute story full of serious and humorous moments that would eventually lead exactly where he wanted it to go. It was cool that he let audience questions direct where his presentation went.”
ABOVE: Sridevi Rao, assistant director for intercultural advancement and student programs, snapped this photo of Cosby and President Bryon Grigsby '90 conversing before the comedian's on-campus lecture.
ABOVE: Andrew Papanastasiou ’17 (center) was all smiles before and after Cosby's lecture in Johnston Hall. (Photo by Michael Wilson)
Added Andrea Hornbaker ’17, a nursing major, “I was surprised that he based his speech off of audience questions. I had never been to a speaker who solely spoke off of questions, but it added a unique touch to the speech. It allowed for people to have the questions they were wondering answered instead of listening to a speech they may or may not have been interested in.”
Cosby didn’t disappoint Andrew Papanastasiou ’17, who like so many others grew up watching The Cosby Show. “He had me laughing hysterically,” said the criminal justice major who sat right off stage.
Meghan Santamaria ’16 enjoyed Cosby’s openness to discuss his faults and failings as willingly as his achievements. “I enjoyed listening to his stories of his childhood and, more importantly, how difficult it was for him to succeed in his studies,” she explained. “I never would have thought that Bill Cosby struggled in school and, to be honest, it surprised me.”
The public health major, who is currently in the process to self design a healthcare management major, later posted on the College’s Facebook wall, “Tonight was such a wonderful once in a lifetime opportunity! I can't thank USG enough for their hard work!”
Stephanie Chilingerian P’14 might have summed up Cosby’s lecture best, posting on social media, “Seeing Mr. Cosby this evening was likely meeting up with an old friend.”
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