‘A Different World’ cast to discuss race, equity and society at Kean University

The cast of ‘A Different World’ will reunite at Kean University on Thursday, Nov. 16 for a President’s Distinguished Lecture on changes in higher education culture and society since the popular TV show began in the late 1980s. Clockwise from upper left are Jasmine Guy, Kadeem Hardison, Cree Summer and Darryl M. Bell.

UNION, NJ — The cast of the iconic TV show “A Different World,” set in a fictional, historically black college, will reunite at Kean University on Thursday, Nov. 16, for a panel discussion on changes in higher education culture and society since the show began in the late 1980s.

The event, “A Different World: 35 Years Later – Reflecting on Impact and Change,” will be at the North Avenue Academic Building on Kean’s Union campus at 4:30 p.m. and is open to the public.
Cast members Kadeem Hardison, Jasmine Guy, Darryl M. Bell and Cree Summer will share in a nostalgic, yet thought-provoking conversation as part of Kean’s President’s Distinguished Lecture Series, which brings thought leaders and newsmakers to the University community.

The panel discussion also celebrates the 35th anniversary of the popular series.

“A Different World tackled the issues and experiences of young Black college students with entertaining and complex stories,” said Kean President Lamont O. Repollet. “At Kean, where we embrace a diverse student body and have a strong commitment to equity and inclusion, these actors will focus a unique lens on social, political and cultural changes and similarities for today’s students. I am looking forward to a great conversation.”

A spin-off of “The Cosby Show,” “A Different World” took place at the fictional Hillman College and aired for six seasons on NBC, from 1987 to 1993.

In the Kean event, cast members will talk about their favorite episodes and their own personal growth and experiences, including ways the show shaped their own activism and advocacy.

“A Different World” was known for its positive and realistic portrayals of black characters and culture and tackled topics such as race and class relations, sexual assault and AIDS.

At the end of the panel, the audience will have the opportunity to engage with the actors through a question-and-answer session about the show’s impact and its relevance today.

Tickets for the general public are $20 each. Tickets for Kean employees and students are free but limited to two tickets per person, and registration is required. For more information about tickets and the President’s Distinguished Lecture Series, visit kean.edu/lectureseries.

Kean alumni can also receive two complimentary tickets by calling 908-737-7469 or emailing [email protected].

Following the “A Different World” panel discussion, the next President’s Distinguished Lecture Series event at Kean will feature Lauren Ridloff, a Tony-nominated deaf actress and past Kean University Commencement speaker. That event will take place on Monday, Dec. 11.

Photo courtesy of Margaret McCorry