Tag: Convocation

Lawrence University Recognizing Film Producer, Philanthropist Abigail Disney with Honorary Degree

Award-winning film producer, activist, and philanthropist Abigail Disney will be recognized Thursday, January 28, 2010 by Lawrence University with an honorary doctor of humane letters degree.

Abigail-Disney_web.jpg As part of the degree-granting ceremony in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel, Disney will deliver the convocation “Peace is Loud,” an address based on her award-winning 2008 documentary film “Pray the Devil Back to Hell.”

“Lawrence University is proud to be welcoming a woman of Abigail Disney’s passion, abilities and stature to campus and presenting her with an honorary degree,” said Lawrence President Jill Beck. “As we prepare our students for lives of achievement and meaningful citizenship, Ms. Disney epitomizes the ideals to which we hope they will aspire.”

In conjunction with Disney’s address, multiple showings of the documentary “Pray the Devil Back to Hell” will be held in the Warch Campus Center cinema in January: 1/7, 12 noon; 1/12, 7 p.m.; 1/20, 8 p.m., 1/28, 1 p.m. A special panel of Lawrence faculty and students will discuss issues raised in the film following the 8 p.m. screening on Jan. 20. All events are free and open to the public.

“I am so thrilled and honored to have been chosen for this honorary degree,” said Disney. “It was a bolt from the blue and a shot in the arm, to mix a couple of metaphors and I am so happy that it came from a wonderful and vibrant institution like Lawrence.”

praythedevilbacktohell_poster.jpgDisney’s film chronicles the inspirational story of the courageous women of Liberia, whose efforts played a critical role in bringing an end to a long and bloody civil war and restored peace to their shattered country.

She served as the producer of “Pray the Devil Back to Hell,” which earned critical praise and collected more than 15 awards, including the Best Documentary Award at New York City’s Tribeca Film Festival, the Cowboy Award Winner – Audience Choice Award at the Jackson Hole Film Festival, the Social Justice Award for Documentary Film at the Santa Barbara Film Festival and the Golden Butterfly Award at the Movies that Matter Festival.

Disney founded and serves as president of the New York City-based Daphne Foundation, which supports grassroots and emerging organizations that deal with the causes and consequences of poverty, focusing on the creation and implementation of long-term solutions to intractable social problems.

She also has played a leadership role in a number of other social and political organizations, among them the New York Women’s Foundation, from which she recently retired as chair, the Roy Disney Family Foundation, the White House Project, the Global Fund for Women, the Fund for the City of New York and the Ms. Foundation for Women. In 1998, when the foundation’s namesake publication, Ms. Magazine, faced financial hardship, Disney joined with magazine founder Gloria Steinem and a group of other investors to form Liberty Media for Women, which secured the magazine’s future.

The grandniece of Walt Disney, founder of the Disney media and entertainment empire, she is the vice chair of the board of Shamrock Holdings Incorporated, a professional investment company that manages more than $1.5 billion in assets.

Disney earned a bachelor’s degree from Yale University, a master’s degree from Stanford University, and her Ph.D. from Columbia University.

Acclaimed Harvard Physicist Explores Hidden Dimensions in Lawrence University Convocation

The universe is keeping secrets and noted Harvard University physicist Lisa Randall would like nothing better than to expose some of them during a Lawrence University convocation.

Randall, a rapidly rising “star” in the world of theoretical physics, presents “Warped Passages: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Universe’s Hidden Dimensions” Thursday, Jan 26 at 11:10 a.m. in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel. The event is free and open to the public.

Recently featured in Newsweek’s special edition “Who’s Next” for 2006, Randall, 43, has been hailed for her ground-breaking theories on a new, fifth dimension of infinite extent beyond the four known dimensions of time and space. Many within scientific circles believe the implications of Randall’s research in theoretical high-energy physics, in which she investigates “warped” geometries, holds the promise of a 21st-century breakthrough on the scale of Einstein’s theories of relativity 100 years ago.

Randall’s work on hidden dimensions has attracted widespread attention and has been the subject of stories in the Science Times section of The New York Times as well as in The Los Angeles Times, The Economist and numerous magazines, among them New Scientist, Science and Nature. As a result of two highly regarded research papers — “A Large Mass Hierarchy From a Small Extra Dimension” and “An Alternative to Compactification” — Randall is considered the world’s “most cited” theoretical physicist in the last five years with nearly 10,000 citations.

A New York City high school classmate of acclaimed physicist Brian Greene, one of the world’s foremost proponents of string theory, Randall holds the unique distinction of being the first female physicist to earn tenure at Princeton University and the first female theoretical physicist granted tenure first at MIT and later at Harvard, where she has taught since 2001.
Last September, Randall’s work was brought to the attention of the general public with the publication of her book, “Warped Passages: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Universe’s Hidden Dimensions,” in which she presented an accessible account on the possibility of additional unseen dimensions. The New York Times included “Warped Passages” on its 2005 list of the 100 most notable books of the year.

A member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a fellow of the American Physical Society, Randall earned both a bachelor’s and a doctorate degree at Harvard. She spent two years (1987-89) as a President’s Fellow at the University of California and one year as a postdoctoral fellow at Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory before joining the faculty at MIT in 1991.

Noted Ethicist Discusses Moral Issues in the Global Environment in Lawrence University Convocation

Author and environmental ethicist Christopher Stone examines some of the underlying moral issues involved with global ecological problems such as climate change, loss of biodiversity and depletion of natural resources in a Lawrence University convocation.

Stone, the J. Thomas McCarthy Trustee Professor of Law at the University of Southern California Law School, presents “Mending the Earth: Ethical Issues in Healing the Global Environment” Tuesday, Oct. 4 at 11:10 a.m. in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel. He also will conduct a question-and-answer session in Riverview Lounge at 2 p.m. Both events are free and open to the public.

A widely published author on topics ranging from ocean policy and U.S. alternate energy policy to corporate crime and trade law, Stone helped fuel the country’s emerging environmental movement with his 1974 book “Should Trees Have Standing?,” arguing for the “legal standing” of nature’s voiceless elements, such as endangered species and threatened forests. The book was reprinted in 1996 as “Should Trees Have Standing?: And Other Essays on Law, Morals and the Environment.”

Stone has addressed other ecological issues in the books “The Gnat is Older Than Man: Global Environment and Human Agenda” and “Earth and Other Ethics: The Case for Moral Pluralism” and has written frequently for such publications as Ecology Law Quarterly, the American Journal of International Law, The New York Times and Harper’s Magazine.

In addition to his writing, Stone, 67, has served as a principal investigator for the U.S. Department of Energy in a variety of projects related to geothermal resource development. He also has served as a member of the Commission on Environmental Law for the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (World Conservation Union), the Foundation for International Environmental Law and Development in London and is on the Board of Advisors of the Animals and Culture Foundation.

A member of the USC law school faculty since 1965, Stone was appointed in 1999 to the McCarthy Trustees’ Chair, one of the most generously funded faculty positions in American legal education. He earned a bachelor’s degree magna cum laude in philosophy from Harvard College in 1959 and a law degree from Yale University School of Law in 1962.

Author Salman Rushdie Highlights Lawrence University Convocation Series, President Jill Beck Kicks off Series with Annual Matriculation Address

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.

Human Rights Activist Discusses Rewards of Helping the Poor in Lawrence University Convocation

An internationally recognized advocate for the equitable medical treatment of people in impoverished communities around the world discusses the rewards of working alongside the poor and fighting the economic and political structures that cause and perpetuate poverty and ill health in a Lawrence University convocation.

Dr. Joia Mukherjee presents “On the Joy of Giving Back” Tuesday, March 8 at 11:10 a.m. in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel. In addition to her address, Mukherjee will conduct a question-and-answer session at 2 p.m. in Riverview Lounge of the Lawrence Memorial Union. Both events are free and open to the public.

Board-certified in pediatrics, infectious diseases and internal medicine, Mukherjee is an attending physician for the adult and pediatric infectious disease units at Boston’s Brigham & Women’s Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital and, since 1999, has served as the medical director of Partners In Health, a non-profit organization founded in 1987 that coordinates health policy initiatives on a global scale.

As medical director of PIH, Mukherjee directs a wide range of community-based clinical activities in Haiti, Peru, Guatemala, Mexico and Russia as well as in inner city Boston, focusing on the treatment of both multidrug-resistant tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS.

In Haiti, she helped establish the ground-breaking HIV Equity Initiative, which has become a model for the Millennium Development Goals, the World Health Organization’s 3 by 5 Initiative and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria. As the first program of its kind in a third-world country, Mukherjee uses highly active antiretroviral therapy to treat HIV patients. Her work has been credited with forging new attitudes among the global medical establishment as to the possibilities — medically as well as socially — in remote and impoverished settings.

Mukherjee’s advocacy for health care access for the poor has taken her around the country and around the world. In 1989, she worked with the Hmong community in Minneapolis during a measles outbreak. Two years later she traveled to Kenya to provide outreach medical services for tuberculosis and leprosy patients. In the mid-1990s, Mukherjee spent time in Uganda where she helped design and implement an HIV prevention program for adolescents.

After earning a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and molecular biology, Mukherjee earned her medical degree at the University of Minnesota in 1992 and a master’s degree in public health from Harvard University in 2001. She has been a member of the faculty of the department of social medicine at Harvard Medical School since 2000.

Civil Rights Legend John Lewis Speaks at Lawrence University Convocation

U.S. Congressman John Lewis of Georgia, a leading figure on the front lines of this nation’s civil rights movement, speaks on the importance of student activism and involvement in the protection of human rights and civil liberties in America Tuesday, Feb. 8 in the third installment of Lawrence University’s 2004-05 convocation series.

Hailed as “a genuine American hero” for his courage in the face of discrimination and human injustice, Lewis delivers the address “Get in the Way” at 11:10 a.m. in the Lawrence University Memorial Chapel. The event is free and open to the public.

The son of Alabama sharecroppers, Lewis, 64, grew up in the segregated South of the 1940s and ’50s, a time when signs for “Whites” and “Colored” were commonplace. Inspired by radio news broadcasts of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.and his message of peaceful reform, Lewis committed himself at an early age to human rights activism.

While attending Fisk University, Lewis organized sit-in demonstrations at segregated lunch counters in Nashville and participated in the famed “Freedom Rides” of the early 1960s, occupying bus seats reserved for whites only. At the age of 23, he became chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, helping organize student activism and earning recognition as one of the “Big Six” leaders of the civil rights movement, joining King, Whitney Young, A. Phillip Randolph, James Farmer and Roy Wilkins.

As SNCC chairman, Lewis was a principal architect of, and a keynote speaker at, the March on Washington in August, 1963, in which King delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Two years later, Lewis led a march for voters’ rights in Alabama that ended in violence when marchers were attacked by state troopers in a brutal confrontation that became known as “Bloody Sunday.” News accounts of the event helped speed the passage of the Voting Rights Act later that same year.

Lewis entered public politics in 1981 with his election to the Atlanta City Council. He joined the U.S. Congress in 1986 and has represented Georgia’s Fifth Congressional District in Washington the past 19 years.

Profiled in a 1975 Time magazine article entitled “Saints Among Us,” Lewis’ efforts on behalf of human rights and civil liberties have been recognized with numerous awards, including the Martin Luther King, Jr. Non-Violent Peace Prize, the John F. Kennedy “Profile in Courage Award” for lifetime achievement, the NAACP Spingarn Medal for outstanding achievement and the National Education Association Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Award.

Lewis earned a bachelor’s degree in religion and philosophy from Fisk University and is a graduate of the American Baptist Theological Seminary. In addition, he has been recognized with nearly a dozen honorary degrees from Duke, Harvard and Princeton universities, among others.

His biography, “Walking With The Wind: A Memoir of the Movement,” was published in 1998.

Political Commentator, Columnist Arianna Huffington Dissects Presidential Election in Lawrence University Convocation

Nationally syndicated columnist, best-selling author and well-known political commentator Arianna Huffington shares her insights on the upcoming presidential election Thursday, Oct. 7 in a Lawrence University convocation.

Huffington presents “The 2004 Election: What’s at Stake?” at 11:10 a.m. in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel. The address, the second in Lawrence’s five-part 2004-05 convocation series, is free and open to the public.

Hailed as one of Washington’s “most influential commentators” by Newsweek magazine, Huffington, 54, is the author of 10 books, including the 2003 New York Times’ best-seller “Pigs at the Trough,” a scathing indictment of corporate greed and political manipulation.

A one-time staunch conservative whose ideology has since evolved toward more populist views and who now operates outside the two-party system, Huffington ran for governor as an independent in California’s 2003 state recall election — won by Arnold Schwarzenegger — and then wrote a behind-the-scenes account of the election in the book “Fanatics and Fools,” which was published earlier this year.

Politics is a favorite topic for Huffington’s books. In addition to “Pigs at the Trough,” she tackled the subject of political corruption and the need for campaign finance reform in her 2000 book “How to Overthrow the Government” while 1998’s “Greetings from the Lincoln Bedroom” provided a satirical, Alice-in-Wonderland-like fantasy look at the Clinton administration.

Two of Huffington’s most popular books were vivid biographies of world famous artists. Her works “Maria Callas: The Woman Behind the Legend” in 1981 and “Picasso: Creator and Destroyer” in 1988 both became international bestsellers. She launched her literary career by challenging modern feminism in “The Female Woman” (1974), criticizing the women’s liberation movement for “denying or ignoring the longings of millions of women for intimacy, children, and a family.” The book was eventually translated into 11 languages.

A familiar face on the television talk show circuit, Huffington was a frequent guest on “Politically Incorrect” and teamed with Al Franken to provide campaign coverage of the Democratic and Republican conventions in 1996. She also has appeared regularly on MSNBC’s “Hardball,” CNN’s “Crossfire” and Fox’s “The O’Reilly Factor” and “Hannity & Colmes.”

Extending her political interests beyond the literary world, Huffington co-founded the Center for Effective Compassion, a Michigan-based organization that promotes faith-principled service to the poor as an alternative to government-run social programs, and The Detroit Project, a national campaign that links fuel efficiency to national security and the country’s reliance on foreign oil. She also serves on the board of directors of the Points of Light Foundation and A Place Called Home, two organizations that foster community solutions to social problems.

Born in Athens, Greece, Huffington moved to England at the age of 16 and earned a degree in economics from Cambridge University, where she became only the third woman ever elected president the Cambridge Union, the university’s famed debating society.

Author SARK Shares Her Passion for the Positive in Lawrence University Convocation

Author, artist and inspirational tour de force Susan Ariel Rainbow Kennedy — professionally known as SARK — shares her infectious perspective on living life to its fullest Thursday, March 4 in a Lawrence University convocation.

SARK presents “Make Your Creative Dreams Real” at 11:10 a.m. in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel. She also will conduct a question-and-answer session at 2 p.m. in Riverview Lounge of the Lawrence Memorial Union. Both events are free and open to the public.

With more than two million books in print, SARK is the author and illustrator of a dozen personal growth, inspiration and creativity books, including the bestsellers “Succulent Wild Woman” and 2002’s “Prosperity Pie: How to Relax About Money and Everything Else.” She’s also embraced the importance of creativity in her books “Inspiration Sandwich,””The Bodacious Book of Succulence,” “Change Your Life Without Getting Out of Bed” and “Eat Mangoes Naked.”

She has been profiled in the PBS series “Women of Wisdom and Power,” shared her passion for life in the documentary film “The World According to SARK” and is a periodic guest on National Public Radio. For more than 10 years, she has provided positive motivation via her own “Inspiration Line.”

A self-proclaimed recovering procrastinator/perfectionist, SARK grew up in Minneapolis. She studied at the Minneapolis Art Institute, the University of Tampa and the University of Minnesota, where she earned a degree in radio and television production. She makes her home today in San Francisco, where she oversees Camp SARK, a company that produces inspirational cards, posters and calendars.

Why Are We the Way We Are? Renowned Psychologist Explains in Lawrence University Convocation

Acclaimed author and cognitive scientist Steven Pinker, whose views on the role of biology in determining human behavior has produced best selling books and raised scientific eyebrows, discusses the concept of nature vs. nurture Tuesday, Jan. 20 in a Lawrence University convocation. Pinker presents “The Blank Slate” at 11:10 a.m. in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel. He also will conduct a question and-answer session at 2 p.m. in Riverview Lounge of the Lawrence Memorial Union. Both events are free and open to the public.

Widely acknowledged as one of the world’s leading experts on the workings of the human mind, Pinker sparked widespread debate with his latest book, “The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature,” a Pulitzer Prize finalist for nonfiction in 2003 and recipient of the American Psychological Association’s William James Book Prize and the Eleanor Maccoby Book Award.

In “The Blank Slate,” he explores why what he says is the extreme position — that cultural and environmental influences are everything — is so often seen as moderate and the moderate position — that human behavior is innate — is seen as extreme. According to Pinker, the brain at birth is not simply a blank slate but a genetic history of humankind.

As an experimental psychologist, Pinker’s early interests focused on visual cognition and language, particularly language development in children. In 1994, he published the first of his four books, “The Language Instinct,” in which he made the case that language is a biological adaptation. The New York Times Book Review included it on its Editor’s Choice list of the 10 best books of that year.

In 1997, Pinker explained how people think, feel, laugh, question and enjoy in his second book, “How the Mind Works,” which became a best-seller, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and was named one of the 10 best books of the decade by Amazon.com. Two years later, he published “Words and Rules: The Ingredients of Language,” which chronicles his research on regular and irregular verbs as a way of explaining how human language works.

A native of Montreal, where he earned his undergraduate degree at McGill University, Pinker, 49, has spent much of his academic career bouncing between the psychology departments of Harvard University, where he earned his doctorate, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he conducted a postdoctoral fellowship. After a year of teaching at Harvard, he returned to MIT in 1982, where he remained until last year, returning to Harvard as the Johnstone Family Professor of Psychology.

In addition to his numerous book awards, Pinker has been named one of the “100 Americans for the Next Century” by Newsweek magazine and been a recipient of the National Academy of Sciences’ Troland Award and the American Academy of Achievement’s Golden Plate Award.

Humorist David Sedaris Shares his Witty Observations in Lawrence University Convocation

Award-winning humorist and National Public Radio commentator David Sedaris brings his collection of witty observances on life to Lawrence University Tuesday, Oct. 14 in the second installment of the college’s 2003 2004 convocation series. The program, “An Evening with David Sedaris” at 7:10 p.m. in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel, is free and open to the public.

Sedaris, who claims his idea of fun is “sociological problems and medical mishaps,” launched his career as one of America’s funniest social commentators in 1992 on NPR’s “Morning Edition.” He shared stories from his book “SantaLand Diaries” about his strange-but-true experiences as one of Santa’s elves at Macy’s in New York.

He has since written four more books: “Naked,” “Barrel Fever,” “Holidays on Ice” and his most recent, “Me Talk Pretty One Day.” The largely autobiographical collections of essays chronicle his life growing up in North Carolina with “voluble” parents and five siblings, his collection of part-time jobs, including an office worker, moving company employee and an apartment cleaner in New York, and taking French classes as an expatriate in Paris, where he currently resides.

Collaborating with his sister, Amy Sedaris, under the name The Talent Family, Sedaris also has written several plays that have been produced in New York, including “One Woman Shoe,” which was honored with an Obie award.

A one-time writing instructor at the Art Institute of Chicago, where he had earned a degree in 1987, and frequent contributor to Esquire magazine, Sedaris was saluted as Time magazine’s “humorist of the year” in 2001. That same year he was named just the third recipient of the Thurber Prize for American Humor.

Following his address, Sedaris will conduct a book signing in Lawrence’s Shattuck Hall, Room 163.