Fall 2008 – Spring 2009

Robert Ballard

Adventure in Deep Sea Exploration: Living the Dream

Throughout his long and distinguished career as one of the most well-known of the world’s deep sea explorers, Robert Ballard has unlocked numerous fascinating secrets deep on the ocean floor. Using the latest in exploration technology, Ballard discovered the wreckage of the RMS Titanic in 1985 and the storied World War II German battleship Bismarck in 1989. He has conducted more than 120 deep-sea explorations, and has brought his discoveries to life for young students in America through the JASON Project, an award-winning distance learning educational program that reaches more than 1.7 million students and 38,000 teachers annually. He also established the Institute for Archaeological Oceanography at the University of Rhode Island. Ballard will share photographs from his expeditions through a multimedia presentation.

Janine Benyus

Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature

Natural sciences writer and innovation consultant Janine Benyus envisions solar cells that mimic leaves, agriculture that models a prairie, and businesses that run like redwood forests. These and other sustainable solutions created by emulating nature’s designs and processes are imagined within biomimicry. Benyus’s book Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired By Nature (HarperCollins, 1997) established biomimicry as an emerging discipline. Benyus is the co-founder of the Biomimicry Guild, a global ecosystem of individuals and organizations dedicated to helping innovators learn from and emulate natural models, and to create products, processes, and policies that create conditions conducive to life. A multimedia presentation will accompany Benyus’ lecture.

Shen Wei

Eloy Rodriguez

The Genesis of Natural Medicines

Eloy Rodriguez, the James A. Perkins Endowed Professor and research scientist at Cornell University, focuses on the importance of culture, indigenous health care systems, and health disparities in poor Appalachian whites, Chicano/a and Native American populations. A vocal advocate for science education, Rodriguez created the Kids Investigating and Discovering Science (KIDS) program for kindergarten through eighth-grade children in underrepresented populations. His studies of the genesis, discovery and application of natural organic medicines for breast and pancreatic cancer and Type 2 diabetes directly connects his research with compelling community involvement.

James Anderson and William Trent

Race, Desegregation, and American Public Schooling

Anderson and Trent are both professors of education policy studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Anderson is also department head. James Anderson’s award-winning research has focused on the history of African American public higher education and the development of African American school achievement in the 20th century. Trent is an internationally recognized researcher in the areas of educational inequality, race and ethnicity and complex organization/social change/policy, and he is currently principal investigator for a comprehensive educational reform project focused on understanding the role of race, ethnicity, class and gender in school reform. Between them, Trent and Anderson have given expert testimony in most of the major legal revisitations of school desegregation cases in the last 15 years. The challenging landscape in K-12 American education and in higher education in terms of access, equity and future effects of current federal and local policy and the law will be the focus of the evening’s discussion.

James Conlon

The Story Behind the Recovered Voices Project

One of today’s preeminent conductors, James Conlon has cultivated a vast symphonic, operatic and choral repertoire, and has developed enduring relationships with many of the world’s most prestigious symphony orchestras and opera houses. Since his New York Philharmonic debut in 1974, Conlon has appeared as a guest conductor with virtually every major North American and European orchestra and has been guest conductor at the Metropolitan Opera for more than 20 years. He is music director of the Los Angeles Opera; music director of the Ravinia Festival, the summer home of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra; and has been music director of the Cincinnati May Festival since 1979. In an effort to raise public consciousness to the significance of works by composers whose lives and compositions were suppressed by the Nazi regime, Conlon has devoted himself to extensive programming of this music in North America and Europe through the Recovered Voices Project.

Patricia Williams and Fred Barnes

Election 2008: Predictions and Analysis

The 2008 United States Presidential election took on an historic tone even before nominees were selected. Patricia Williams, the James L. Dohr Professor of Law at Columbia University School of Law, and Fred Barnes, co-founder and executive editor of The Weekly Standard and co-host of “The Beltway Boys” on FOX News, will discuss the election process, the impact of the high-profile candidacies of Democratic nominee Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, and the message that was conveyed by the millions of first-time voters who came out for the Democratic primaries. Williams and Barnes will also offer analysis on the campaigns of Obama and Republican nominee John McCain, and their predictions on multiple facets of the Nov. 4 general election.

Patricia Williams and Fred Barnes “Election 2008: Predictions and Analysis” A roundtable discussion moderated by Professor Arthur Brooks.

Ishmael Beah

The Making, and Unmaking, of a Boy Soldier

Ishmael Beah’s childhood effectively ended at age 12, when he fled attacking rebels in his war-torn homeland of Sierra Leone. Within a year, he was forced into service as a child soldier for the government army, where he found himself capable of performing truly horrific acts.  After being relocated to a UNICEF rehabilitation center at age 16, Beah was finally able to begin to heal and gain his life—and his humanity—back. His gripping memoir, “A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier” (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2007) is SU’s Shared Reading Program selection for 2008.