Arkansas State University


Tom Moore
Sara McNeil

(870) 972-3056
fax (870) 972-3069

More information:

Links to News Releases
& Announcements

Campus Calendar
Public activities at ASU

Campus News
Faculty and Staff

About ASU
Overview, history
and more

Janis Kearney, presidential diarist, to speak as part of Lecture-Concert Series

Sept. 27, 2007 -
- Arkansas State University in Jonesboro presents author and presidential diarist Janis Kearney on Thursday, Oct. 4, at 7 p.m. in the Reng Student Services Center/Student Union Auditorium in the second event of the 2007-2008 Lecture-Concert Series. Kearney will present a lecture, “A Paper Trail…Creating a Presidential Legacy.”

Kearney, the author of two books, is spending the 2007-2008 academic year on the ASU campus. This fall, she is teaching two special-topics courses in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, and she will teach two other special-topics courses during the spring semester, as well. Her courses this fall are “Inside the Clinton Presidency,” in Political Science, and “Memoir Writing: Using memory and stories to write our world,” in English. Kearney has also served as the Chancellor’s Lecturer at the City Colleges of Chicago.

Janis KearneyJanis Kearney is one of 19 siblings who grew up in Gould, Arkansas, a small town in southeast Arkansas. Her parents, James and Ethel V. Kearney, were sharecroppers. Kearney graduated from Gould High School in 1971, and enrolled at the University of Arkansas, where she earned a BA in journalism. She continued her education at UALR, earning 30 hours toward an MPA. Kearney worked for the State of Arkansas for three years as a program manager for the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act, and another six years as director of information for the national headquarters of the Migrant Student Records Transfer system.

In 1987, Kearney purchased the Arkansas State Press newspaper from civil rights legend Daisy Bates, and published the weekly newspaper until 1992, when she took a sabbatical to work in the Clinton/Gore presidential campaign as director of minority media outreach. She fully expected to return to the Arkansas State Press, but when Clinton’s White House Press Secretary Dee Dee Myers asked her to join the White House Press Office in 1993, Kearney did.

After a stint in White House Media Affairs, she was appointed director of public affairs and communications for the U.S. Small Business Administration. Kearney’s husband, Bob Nash, also served in the Clinton White House as director of presidential personnel, recruiting and vetting the hiring of presidential appointees. In 1995, Kearney became the first presidential diarist in U.S. history, chronicling the day-to-day life of President Clinton.

After leaving the White House in 2001, Kearney and Nash moved to Chicago, where he was appointed vice chair for ShoreBank Corporation. Kearney was named a fellow at Harvard University’s W.E. B. DuBois Institute for 2001-2003, where she began researching and writing  an oral biography of Clinton’s legacy, particularly on matters of race, “Conversations: William Jefferson Clinton, From Hope to Harlem.”

For “Conversations,” Kearney interviewed more than 100 African-Americans from all walks of life, including Clinton’s babysitter from Hope, Arkansas. Her interviewees discussed Clinton’s legacy in terms of race, his leadership, and his presidency.

In November of 2004, Kearney and Nash founded Writing our World Press, a small publishing house. Their first book is her memoir, “Cotton Field of Dreams,” which debuted at the opening of the Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock. Two other titles have followed, “Conversations: William Jefferson Clinton, From Hope to Harlem,” and “Quiet Guys do Great Things, Too,” by Frank Ross, as told to Janis Kearney.

For more details, please contact Dr. Gil Fowler, associate dean for the Honors College, at (870) 972-2308 or via e-mail at, or visit

The Lecture-Concert Series presents diverse programs to enrich the cultural life of the campus, community, and region.


 # # #


NewsPage:  |  Back to TOP  |