Events at William James College

Pemberton to Inspire on May 5, 2016

This year's gala features Steve Pemberton, who in every aspect of his life - diversity executive, author, father and a voice for the forgotten - offers inspiration to others, emphasizing that from tragedy can come extraordinary accomplishment. "This little boy doesn't have a chance in the world." This diary entry, taken from the journal of a babysitter, was the prediction for Steve Pemberton's future. But for him, that defeatist notion would have the exact opposite effect; it would inspire him to move forward through life and triumph over extreme adversity to become the chance, and the success, he believed he deserved in the world. Overcoming seemingly insurmountable odds, Pemberton has gone from being a forgotten ward of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to becoming a trailblazing Divisional Vice President at Walgreens and its first Chief Diversity Officer. His memoir, A Chance in the World: An Orphan Boy, a Mysterious Past, and How He Found a Place Called Home, chronicles his difficult path through foster care and his determined search for his family. It is an inspirational story that crosses generations and cultures, but specifically whispers to those who have had the odds stacked against them. Pemberton's relentless journey to overcome his setbacks, find his biological family and right the wrongs of his parents' past is a model for all families to follow. It is a true testament of faith, fortitude and forgiveness.

Past Events

Opioid Crisis: Thinking Outside the Box

William James College Forum presented this special conference on Tuesday, April 5, 2016 at the Back Bay Events Center in Boston, with welcoming remarks by Marylou Sudders, MA Secretary of Health and Human Services, along with  keynote speakers:  Carl Hart, PhD, Associate Professor of Psychology in the Departments of Psychiatry and Psychology at Columbia University, and Director of the Residential Studies and Methamphetamine Research Laboratories at the New York State Psychiatric Institute, Andrew Kolodny, MD, Chief Medical Officer of Phoenix House; a senior scientist at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University; a research professor at the Global Institute of Public Health, New York University; and Executive Director and co-founder of Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing (PROP) and panel discussion with moderator Martha Bebinger, WBUR.

College Screened The War Tapes on February 26

Soldiers enlist for different reasons and were of different opinions about the war - they mention oil and freedom, not terrorism - but have in common experiences that will haunt them for the rest of their lives. Directed by Deborah Scranton (and edited by "Hoop Dreams" director Steve James), the award-winning The War Tapes is a painfully intimate snapshot of our troops, the damage they inflicted on an unseen enemy, and what they endured while doing so, in all its absurd, dehumanizing and ennobling contradictions. 

Alumni Speaker Series

The William James College Alumni Speaker Series provides exciting presentations that are free and open to the public.  Here are some of the presentations that have been presented in the past:

  • The Art and Science of Happiness, Presentation by Maria Sirois, PsyD, class of  1993
  • Unconventional Uses for a Psychology Degree by Chris Willard, PsyD,  class of  2008

American Denial

Film Screening and Discussion with Producer/Director Llewellyn Smith

The Center for Multicultural and Global Mental Health hosted a special screening of the film, American Denial. There was a discussion with the film Producer/Director Llewellyn Smith following the screening.

In 1938, Swedish researcher and Nobel Laureate Gunnar Myrdal plunges into America's Jim Crow South. The resulting study, An American Dilemma (1944), poses a profoundly unsettling question: How can a people devoted to the American Creed of equality, justice & opportunity for all continue to erect obstacles to those ends based on race? Through Myrdal's story and contemporary racial dynamics, American Denial explores how denial, cognitive dissonance, and implicit bias persist & shape all of our lives.

Returning Home: Hiring, Mentoring, and Retaining Veterans

A panel discussion brought together business leaders from across the region to explore the opportunities employers can provide for our returning veterans.

In Honor of Iron Mountain: 2015 Corporate Humanitarian Award. For their commitment to hiring and supporting military service members. Presented by William James College.

Moderator: Travis Bickford, Associate Director, Military and Veteran Relations, William James College


  • Robert Dingman, EdD, Director, Military and Veterans Psychology Program, William James College
  • Major General Raymond Fox, SVP Strategic Business Development, Iron Mountain
  • Adam Freed, Student, Military and Veterans Psychology Program, William James College
  • Ty Mericle, District Manager, Iron Mountain
  • Ty Ondatje, SVP Corporate Responsibility & Chief Diversity Officer, Iron Mountain
  • Eli Williamson, Director of the Veterans Program, Robert R. McCormick Foundation; Co-Founder and President, Leave No Veteran Behind