Lawrence University President Jill Beck officially opens the college’s 156th academic year Thursday, Sept. 22 and kicks off the 2005-06 convocation series with her annual matriculation address.

Beck will examine the importance of student involvement in the greater community and its role in developing character and instilling personal principles in the address “A Question of Values: Community Engagement, Altruism and Liberal Education” at 11:10 a.m. in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel. The event is free and open to the public.

Joining Beck on the 2005-06 convocation schedule is environmental ethicist and author Christopher Stone, theoretical physicist Lisa Randall, award-winning novelist Salman Rushdie and U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge D. Michael Lynn.

Lawrence’s 15th and first woman president, Beck assumed the presidency in July, 2004 and was formally installed in office in May, 2005. Among the themes she has chosen for her presidency are to increase collaborative and complementary activities between the fine and performing arts and the traditional liberal arts and sciences and to encourage more active community engagement by Lawrence and its students.

Under her leadership, the college has created an innovative postdoctoral teaching fellowship program — the Lawrence University Fellows in the Liberal Arts and Sciences. During its first year (2005-06), the Lawrence Fellows program has brought eight recent Ph.D.s to campus in fields as diverse as music composition, physics, gender studies, geology and philosophy.

Prior to coming to Lawrence, Beck spent eight years (1995-2003) as dean of the Claire Trevor School of the Arts at the University of California, Irvine. At UC-Irvine, Beck established the da Vinci Research Center for Learning Through the Arts, an interdisciplinary center for research focused on learning across disciplines. She also founded ArtsBridge America, an outreach program that offers hands-on experiences in the arts to school-age children, placing university students in K-12 classrooms as instructors and mentors. In 2005, Lawrence became the headquarters of ArtsBridge America and the first private institution to join the program, which now has 22 participating institutions in 13 states and Northern Ireland.

A native of Worcester, Massachusetts, she earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and art history from Clark University, a master’s degree in history and music from McGill University and the Ph.D. in theatre history and criticism from the City University of New York. She served on the faculties of City College of the City University of New York and The Juilliard School and has written extensively in the fields of dance history, theory, repertory, and technique, as well as choreographing and directing ballet and modern dance repertory.

Stone, the J. Thomas McCarthy Trustee Professor of Law at the University of Southern California, presents “Mending the Earth: Ethical Issues in Healing the Global Environment” Tuesday, Oct. 4. He has written extensively on the environment, ocean policy, U.S. alternate energy policy and climate change, among other topics. He serves as a member of the Commission on Environmental Law of the IUCN (World Conservation Union) and is a Trustee of the Center for International Environmental Law.

Randall, a professor of physics at Harvard University, will discuss the mysteries of the universe’s hidden dimensions Thursday, Jan. 26. A rising star in the world of theoretical physics, her groundbreaking research has investigated possibilities for particle physics and cosmology when there are more than three dimensions, such as the possibility of a hidden fifth dimension of infinite extent. The recipient of a National Science Foundation Young Investigator Award, Randall taught at MIT and Princeton University before joining the faculty at Harvard.

Rushdie, one of the most successful and celebrated novelists of his generation, presents “A Morning with Salman Rushdie,” Thursday, April 20. While his novels have earned critical acclaim and enjoyed widespread commercial success, he is perhaps best known for his work “The Satanic Verses,” which generated a firestorm of controversy. It was banned in his native India before it was published and was deemed sacrilegious by Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeni, who issued a “fatwa” against Rushdie in 1989.

His book “Step Across This Line: Collected Non-Fiction, 1992-2002” is a collection of articles that explore his own reaction to the fatwa, as well as reactions of the media and various governments. His latest novel, “Shalimar the Clown,” which explores the evolution of a terrorist, was released earlier this month.

Lynn will deliver the address “American Justice: Proud Promise or Oxymoron: How Does the Legal System Measure Up?” at Lawrence’s annual Honors Convocation Thursday, May 25. A 1965 Lawrence graduate, Lynn was appointed U.S. Bankruptcy Judge in September, 2001 after a 29-year career of practicing corporate reorganization and bankruptcy law in Dallas, Texas. He also serves as a professor of law on the faculty of Southern Methodist University’s Dedman School of Law and has been recognized for his work on behalf of the homeless and by the State Bar of Texas for his participation on the faculty of numerous continuing legal education programs.