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King College and the Buechner Institute welcome Roberta Green Ahmanson, a writer and
philanthropist whose public activities focus on deepening awareness and understanding
of the role of religion in public life, the importance of knowing history to understand
the present, and the vital role the arts play in shaping human experience. Ahmanson
will speak at King's Memorial Chapel and Student Center Complex Boardroom on Feb.
20, as part of the Institute's 2011-2012 Lecture Series.
A notable philanthropist who has also worked in journalism and the arts, Roberta Ahmanson
will bring an interesting perspective to the Buechner Institute's series for the spring
of 2012, stated Dale Brown, director of the Buechner Institute at King College.
Ahmanson, chairman of the board of the Museum of Biblical Art in New York City, is
a regular speaker at the International Arts Movement's annual encounters, and a frequent
commentator on the arts. She has sponsored a number of international art exhibitions
in the United States and Great Britain, the most recent being The Sacred Made Real
at the National Gallery, London, in the fall of 2009.
Ahmanson also serves as chairman of the board of the Media Project and a contributor
to Oxford University Press's 2008 award-winning book, Blind Spot: When Journalists
Don't Get Religion. In the book, Ahmanson, along with her co-authors, Paul Marshall
and Lela Gilbert, contemplate questions such as Why do the media so often miss or
misunderstand major news stories. The authors derive that understanding religion is
vital in accurately reporting and interpreting current events.
The essays in Blind Spot examine news stories reported by major media sources in which
key religious dimensions were ignored, overlooked, or misrepresented. Ahmanson, along
with Marshal and Gilbert, offer readers, whether people of faith or not, an analysis
of the news media's uneasy relationship with religion and religious issues.
Ahmanson also co-authored the book, Islam at the Crossroads: Understanding its Beliefs,
History, and Conflicts, with Marshal and Gilbert in 2002.
With her husband, Howard, Ahmanson is a trustee of their private philanthropy, Fieldstead
and Company. Most recently, the Ahmanson's received Arts Orange County's 2010 Achievement
Award for Outstanding Arts Philanthropist.
Ahmanson is currently serving as the second Visionary-in-Residence for Biola University
during the school's 2011-2012 Year of the Arts. Ahmanson helped orchestrate and fund
the event, a yearlong series of exhibits, interdisciplinary lectures, concerts, reading,
symposia and collaborative projects at Biola. Ahmanson chose the theme, Sanctuary
and Sacred Space, for the year and loaned some of her extensive art collection to
Biola University for exhibitions, including an exhibition of the work of Danish artist
Maja Lisa Engelhardt.
Both Ahmanson and her husband, Howard, were granted honorary doctoral degrees from
Biola University in 2006.
Ahmanson previously worked as a sixth grade teacher in Toronto, Canada, then as a
religion reporter and editor for the San Bernardino Sun and the Orange County Register,
both in Southern California. She grew up in Iowa and was educated in Michigan and
Roberta Ahmanson will present Imagination Becomes Reality at 10:30 a.m. in King's
Memorial Chapel, and Beauty for Ashes at 7 p.m. at the College's Student Center Complex
Boardroom on Feb. 20. Both events are open to the public and free to attend. For more
information, contact Dale Brown at 423.652.4156 or visit www.buechnerinstitute.org.