CARLINVILLE - Blackburn College is launching a speaker series called “Raise the Bar” this Saturday, January 30 at 10:00 am. The free online discussions will offer an opportunity to learn from Blackburn professors and administrators as they discuss timely topics and share some of their life experiences.

The first event in the virtual series will explore Blackburn College’s longtime commitment to sustainable environmental practices. The “Bees, Trees, and Solar” discussion will cover the pollinator program and Blackburn’s distinction as the only certified ‘Bee Campus’ in downstate Illinois, the more than 10,000 walnut trees maintained as part of the campus’ forestry efforts, the recent eight-acre solar array, and student-focused environmental efforts on and off-campus. Featured speakers will include Dr. James Bray, professor of biology; as well as Blackburn staff members Nick McCorkle, grounds supervisor; and Chris Burnley, interim vice president for administration and finance.

The speaker series, organized by Blackburn's Office of Institutional Advancement, is free and the public is encouraged to participate. Additional virtual programs are scheduled through May 2021. For more information and to register online, please visit

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