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‘War on poverty’ under examination at visiting scholar’s lecture Feb. 20

Friday, February 14, 2020

LAWRENCE — More than 50 years ago, President Lyndon Johnson declared a war on poverty. With this war came a dramatic expansion in government programs that included health insurance for the poor and elderly, food subsidies to promote nutrition, educational programs for preschool-age children and more.

Visiting scholar James Sullivan is coming to the University of Kansas to discuss the effect of these programs on poverty over the past five decades. Sullivan is this year’s Kansas Alpha Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa visiting scholar. He will speak at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 20 at the Colloquium in Capitol Federal Hall.

The lecture, which is free and open to the public, will echo themes in this academic year's KU Common Book, "Tales of Two Americas: Stories of Inequality in a Divided Nation." Sullivan will highlight some of the key lessons learned from national efforts to improve outcomes for low-income individuals and families.

Sullivan is a professor of economics and Gilbert F. Schaefer College Chair at the University of Notre Dame. He was recently appointed to the U.S. Commission on Social Impact Partnerships and serves on the National Poverty Center Advisory Board. His research examines the effectiveness of anti-poverty programs at the national, state and local level.

He also studies the consumption, saving and borrowing behavior of poor households, as well as poverty and inequality measurement. Sullivan currently serves as director of the Wilson Sheehan Lab for Economic Opportunities, a research center he co-founded in 2012 that works with service providers and policymakers to identify evidence-based solutions to poverty in the United States.

Since 1956, the Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar Program has been offering undergraduates the opportunity to spend time with some of the United States' most distinguished scholars. The purpose of the program is to contribute to the intellectual life of the campus by making possible an exchange of ideas between the visiting scholars and the resident faculty and students.

The Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar Lecture at KU is sponsored by the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, the Office of First-Year Experience, the University Honors Program, the Department of Economics and the Department of History.