CNN’s Van Jones Speaks at Newbury’s Annual Gala Event

On Saturday May 5, Newbury College hosted its annual Gala event on campus with guest speaker Van Jones from CNN.

CNN’s Van Jones Speaks at Newbury’s Annual Gala Event

May 14, 2018 – On Saturday May 5, Newbury College hosted its annual Gala event on campus with guest speaker Van Jones from CNN. This year’s 9th Annual Gala raised money for financial aid and scholarships to support students.

The evening began with a cocktail reception and book signing for sponsors. Guests gathered at the Mitton House courtyard for hors d'oeuvres and the opportunity to speak with Van Jones and have their books autographed.

Before the talk and dinner reception, Vice President of Advancement addressed the guests: “We make the extraordinary happen each and every single day, especially for our students. We are a close community. We know each other. We care about each other and we do all we can to make Newbury the best that it can be.”

Newbury alumna, Katelynne Bazile ’17, introduced Van Jones. Bazile had the opportunity to work with CNN and attend the Democratic National Convention in July of 2016 through the Washington Center. At the dinner, she spoke about her Newbury experience before welcoming Van Jones to the podium. She said, “I encourage you to visit campus to see for yourself how passionate and resilient our students are.”

Van Jones addressed the room, speaking on his book Beyond the Messy Truth: How We Came Apart, How We Come Together; the future of the country; diversity; the influence younger generations can have; taking chances and working hard in order to achieve your dreams; and the importance of higher education institutions.

Van Jones told his story of being from rural Tennessee and eventually graduating from Yale Law School. He said, “It doesn’t matter how low or high you start in life...the most important thing is how strong is your springboard and how hard you hit it.”

Jones emphasized the importance of giving students and young people opportunities to thrive and influence the world around them. “Genius is wasted because people don’t want to take a chance on people who look different, who come from a different background,” said Jones, “That’s not Newbury College. Newbury College is willing to make a bet and take a chance on folks and when you do that you wind up with great superstars who go out here and impress everybody.” He then added, “Well-educated, well-supported young people may well discover a way to move forward together…to find a more coherent narrative.”

At the end of his talk, Jones took questions from the room covering topics including the disparity between political parties, the role of truth in media and politics, the responsibility as a student and citizen and the opportunities to take risks. He concluded his talk with “The worst thing in life is not the stuff you did that didn’t work out. It’s the stuff you could have done, but you chickened out. Don’t chicken out.”

After the dinner, Newbury President, Dr. Joseph L. Chillo, took to the podium to address the room. He invited the student guests to the stage to tell their stories. Madeline Jacquith ‘19, Katelyn Audette ’18, Ansa Nisar ’18, Destiny Spears ’18, Oscar Chavez ‘20, Mallory Stefan ‘20, and Brandon Ray ’20 each spoke on their Newbury experience.

President Chillo thanked the donors for their generosity and reiterated the important role Newbury plays in the lives of its students: “This little institution shines because we do something special and we do something important.”




About Newbury: Newbury College is a private, independent college located just minutes from Boston in the Fisher Hill neighborhood of Brookline, Massachusetts. Founded in 1962, Newbury College offers bachelor and associate degree programs in over 20 career-focused majors. Committed to personalized and experience-based teaching, Newbury inspires students to become independent thinkers, valuable collaborators, and global-minded citizens. 

Contact: Sarah Johansson, Communications Coordinator

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