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Updated 10:00 AM November 2, 2009

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Designer, humanitarian Cole to speak at SPH

Renowned American fashion designer and humanitarian Kenneth Cole will speak at 4 p.m. on Nov. 11 at the School of Public Health.

Cole, who has been on the frontlines of important social and public health issues for more than 25 years, will talk about corporate responsibility and his work on public health issues such as AIDS. Cole is the chairman of the Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR) and has been involved with philanthropy and social activism since launching Kenneth Cole Productions in 1983 from the back of a 40-foot trailer truck in New York City.

Cole has become as well known for his social activism as his shoes and clothing. As chairman of amfAR, his business model fuses fashion with social action. He'll discuss HIV/AIDS and what he has done since joining the amfAR board in 1985, including his company's advertising campaigns challenging the public dialogue relating to HIV/AIDS.

He'll also address broader issues of corporate social responsibility and discuss how he has merged business and philanthropy, underscoring their interdependence. In addition, his talk will focus on the importance of students' involvement in effecting positive social change. He will share his thoughts about the job market today, and why it's a good time to enter the workforce because jobs in green energy, sustainability and public health will make a difference to the future of the planet.

The event is free and open to all university faculty, staff and students. The event takes place in SPH Auditorium II, 1415 Washington Heights, and is hosted by SPH and the U-M Tobacco Research Network.

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