Oct. 29-Nov. 4, 1999
U.Va. to host public forum with alumni about the future of the Internet age
Former dean Raymond J. Nelson receives U.Va.'s Thomas Jefferson Award
U.Va.'s foster families fill the breach for children in need

Conference explores ways to internationalize universities

Winston, Weaver 'rapt' up Film Festival
Sigourney Weaver on motherhood and other roles
Sharing digital resources to help teachers use technology in class
Hot Links - President's Office
Film, panelists explore 'digital divide' in computer access
After Hours - arborist Jerry Brown
U.Va. well on its way to ringing in the Year 2000 without a systems glitch
Off the Shelf - recently published books
Digital prints on display Nov. 1-29
CEO of Pew Trusts to give talk Nov. 3

U.Va. to host public forum with alumni about the future of the Internet age

By Fariss Samarrai

How does technology go to the heart of human experience? Through the stream of the Internet. To some, the Internet is an untrained river of commerce and pornography. To others it is a conduit of inspiration and democracy that unites the common experience of people across cultures and international boundaries.

To all, it is revolutionary. This technology, which is changing the world, will be the subject of debate at U.Va. Nov. 12 and 13, when 33 Internet industry pioneers and visionaries convene for e-summit@virginia, a free public forum about the Internet, that will be broadcast online. This group of leading executives share one common trait: they are all University alumni who believe in the Jeffersonian principle of wise revolution.

Participants include:

  • Allison Abraham, COO for the Internet company iVillage;
  • Shelby W. Bonnie, vice chairman of CNET;
  • U. Bertram Ellis Jr., CEO of the interactive digital company iXL;
  • Lawton Fitt, managing director of the investment, finance and research company Goldman Sachs;
  • Timothy A. Koogle, CEO of the web browser company Yahoo!;
  • Halsey M. Minor, CEO of the Internet news and information company CNET;
  • Jeffrey D. Nuechterlein, managing director at National Gypsum Co.;
  • Mark B. Templeton, president and director of the server-based computing company Citrix Systems, Inc.; and
  • Jeffrey C. Walker, senior managing director of the global private equity organization Chase Capital Partners.

In the spirit of Thomas Jefferson, participants will imagine the future, examine our assumptions, and weigh the challenges of serving the common good in provocative public discussions. The forum is designed to engage panels of industry executives, University students and the general audience in a lively debate on theoretical and practical implications of Internet technology, and the rights and responsibilities of business leaders, government and private citizens.

During the conference, panelists will present their forecasts for the future of the Information Age, discuss the traditional Jeffersonian principles they share, and look at how Jefferson's concept of the Academical Village can extend learning and democracy to the global village via the Internet.

The event is one of several activities of Virginia 2020, a University-wide planning initiative set to power the University into the 21st century.

"The e-summit is an extraordinary event for the University of Virginia," says President John T. Casteen III. "It brings together more than two dozen University alumni who are leaders in the new technology age that is reshaping our lives and revolutionizing the global economy. My hope for the conference, as for the entire Virginia 2020 initiative, is that it will do at least two things: engage alumni, faculty and students in provocative explorations of theoretical, practical, social and ethical issues that really matter; and generate plans of action for the University to follow over the next 20 or so years."

Several of the executives who are participating in the summit believe that U.Va.'s rigorous liberal arts emphasis, grounded in ethical thinking, is the key to their personal philosophies and the success of their companies.

"Running any company, and especially a company in this field, requires that you be good at a lot of things," says Halsey Minor, CEO at CNET. "The liberal arts background I got at Virginia helps me to do that."

Some of the issues that will be discussed include: access to the World Wide Web, privacy and personal security, winners and losers in a changing economy, free expression and censorship, and new ways to serve the common good.

"The University of Virginia has produced some of the most interesting and dynamic leaders in the Internet industry," says Robert Sweeney, vice president for development at U.Va. "These executives are taking the Jeffersonian values of ethics and self-responsibility, and incorporating them with technology -- sort of an old twist on something new. We have invited these alumni to come back and re-engage in the life of the University. It is a homecoming for which they can inspire our students and community, as well as the faculty that initially inspired them."

A complete schedule will appear in next week's Inside UVA. All sessions are free and open to the public.

The conference also will be streamed live onto its web site. The conference, presented by the Office of the President and Virginia 2020, is sponsored by PricewaterhouseCoopers and FORTUNE magazine.

For information, call 924-1366 or see http://www.virginia.edu/e-summit.


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