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Frank Sinatra Artists-in-Residence

Frank Sinatra Chair

The Frank Sinatra Chair in the Performing Arts was established in 1980 with initial funds from the proceeds of the 14th Annual Golden Circle Theatre Party, of which Frank Sinatra was the headliner. This year we are hosting an Artist-in-Residence who will be on campus to work with our students and perform throughout the year.

2017-18 Artist

W. Kamau Bell

Santa Clara University to Host Comedian, Political Satirist, Host of CNN's Emmy-winning “United Shades of America”

W. Kamau Bell

W. Kamau Bell has been named the 2017-18 Frank Sinatra Chair in the Performing Arts by Debbie Tahmassebi, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Santa Clara University. Bell will kick-off the academic year with a program on Tuesday, November 7.

As Frank Sinatra Artist-in-Residence Bell will have a strong physical presence on campus, mentoring and engaging our students, faculty, and the community. He will also have time to continue his personal endeavors, such as his podcasts, which also provide the opportunity for our students learn by assisting with research and production.

During his Residency, Kamau will immerse himself in our campus and begin to do what he does best—enter a community with respect and come to understand it from the inside out. He will educate our University community with his thought-provoking insights on the impact of race on American culture, the political landscape we now live in, and how to diffuse conflict with humor.

An Emmy-winning comic and CNN host, W. Kamau Bell delivers incisive, scathingly funny commentary on modern society meant to change the public view of race, politics, parenting, and social issues in America. His hit CNN docu-series United Shades of America received the Emmy Award for Outstanding Unstructured Reality Program and he has been nomicated for a Television Critics Association Award for Outstanding Achievement in News and Information.

The multi-talented entertainer also hosts the must-listen podcasts, Denzel Washington is The Greatest Actor of All Time Period and Politically Re-Active, as well as the live public radio show, Kamau Right Now!

Kamau recently released his third comedy album, Semi-Prominent Negro, which is the audio from his Morgan Spurlock-produced comedy special of the same name. His first book, The Awkward Thoughts of W. Kamau Bell: Tales of a 6' 4", African American, Heterosexual, Cisgender, Left-Leaning, Asthmatic, Black and Proud Blerd, Mama's Boy, Dad, and Stand-Up Comedian, came out in May 2017.

W. Kamau Bell brings audiences provocative insights as well as very human, very necessary commentary on the headlines of the day, from race relations to cultural divides. His edgy yet level-headed view of the world leaves you with a more hopeful understanding of our country’s challenges, as well as conversation-stoking takeaways on humanity and social change that will have you contemplating the state of the union long after he has left the stage.

Kamau Bell's Spring 2018 Visits

Kamau Bell's February 2018 Visit

Photos from Kamau Bell's Visit on Nov. 7, 2017