Marcus Freeman, Dick Corbett Head Football Coach for the University of Notre Dame, will share his perspective on Asian identity and representation as the featured speaker for the Asian American Distinguished Speaker Series, sponsored by the Liu Institute for Asia and Asian Studies and DeBartolo Performing Arts Center.
The event, “Honoring Heritage, Advancing Representation,” will focus on Freeman’s personal life and Asian heritage in an informal discussion with Tarryn Chun, Liu Institute faculty fellow and assistant professor of Film, Television, and Theatre. The free event will be held at 4 p.m. on April 27 in the Patricia George Decio Theatre at the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center. Tickets will become available in coming days at performingarts.nd.edu.
“Coach Freeman regularly speaks in interviews about his mother, Chong, who was born and raised in South Korea, and how she shaped his character and values,” said Michel Hockx, Liu Institute director. “We are honored that Coach Freeman will share more about his upbringing and background for this event. The Asian American Distinguished Speaker Series was developed to bring visibility to Asian American experiences, and it is meaningful that Coach Freeman also finds this goal important.”
Notre Dame selected Freeman as its 30th head football coach on December 3, 2021. He joined Notre Dame earlier that year as the defensive coordinator, previously serving as a defensive coach at the University of Cincinnati, Purdue University, and Kent State University.
A few days after his head coach appointment, Freeman published the open letter Dear Notre Dame that explained his vision for the football team and shared his personal background. “Having the ability and the character to serve others, I think I got that from my mother,” he writes. “She’s a Korean woman who fell in love with this American guy [Michael Freeman] that was stationed over in Korea. And she left all of her comfort back home in order to start a family with my dad in the United States. She’s taught me so much about sacrifice, how it can be its own reward.”
He also writes about the importance of representation as a person of color. “I want to be a representation, but also more than that, I want to be a demonstration. I want to be a demonstration of what someone can do, and the level they can do it at, if they are given the OPPORTUNITY.”
An Ohio native, Freeman was a four-year letter winner at The Ohio State University, where he earned a bachelor’s in 2007 and a master’s in 2011.
Launched in 2021, the Asian American Distinguished Speaker Series honors innovative, creative, and effective Asian American leaders.
The Liu Institute for Asia and Asian Studies provides integrated and multidisciplinary research and teaching on Asia. The Institute also promotes general awareness, understanding, and knowledge of Asia through public events and supporting student and faculty scholarship and engagement with partners in Asia. The Institute, part of the Keough School of Global Affairs, was established in 2010 by a gift from the RM Liu Foundation that supports the philanthropic activities of Robert and Mimi Liu and their children, Emily and Justin, both Notre Dame graduates.
Tickets for the Freeman event will be available for pickup one hour prior to the performance. To guarantee a reservation, patrons must pick up will-call tickets at least 15 minutes prior to the performance. In the event of a sellout, unclaimed will-call tickets will be used to seat patrons waiting on standby.
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