The Mind Lecture Series Brings University Of Virginia To Virginia
April 8, 2002-- Who would
want to go to Roanoke on a Friday night? Well, Steve Majewski would,
as long as he gets to talk about the Milky Way to a crowd of people
who are interested in the stars. Majewski, a renowned U.Va. astronomer,
went to the Star City last fall as part of U.Va.'s Engaging the
Mind lecture series, a free program custom tailored for auditoriums
full of Virginia citizens around the state.
response to this statewide program in its first year has been deeply
gratifying," said Laura Hawthorne, U.Va. public service coordinator.
"We sensed there was an intellectual hunger in communities throughout
the state and, as our numbers increase with each lecture, I grow
more convinced we have created an offering that illustrates the
best of university outreach."
fall the series included three lectures, two in Richmond and Majewski's
in Roanoke. This semester features nine lectures, three in Northern
Virginia, three in Virginia Beach and one each in Lynchburg, Roanoke
and Charlottesville. Topics include U.S. policy in the Middle East
and the changing face of the Supreme Court. James Childress, U.Va.
professor of religious studies, spoke last month to a packed house
at the central library in Virginia Beach on the ethics of war, and
Michael Smith, U.Va. professor of political and social thought,
spoke about human rights in the contemporary world of states at
the Fairfax County Government Center. More than 1,000 people are
expected to attend lectures this year.
try to select topics that resonate with each region of the state
and current events," Hawthorne said. "Following the events of September
11, the director of U.Va.'s Northern Virginia Center, Steve Gladis,
advised us to choose topics for the spring series that connect somehow
with the aftermath. He said, 'People drive by the Pentagon every
day and that's what they're thinking about. Help them understand
and you'll have a packed house.'
director of the Roanoke center, Linda Linnartz, knew that her region
has a high concentration of science enthusiasts, so we invited Steve
Majewski to visit and talk about the Milky Way," Hawthorne said.
"Over 75 people turned out that evening."
was a nice crowd, and they asked good questions," said Majewski.
"I was impressed. I would definitely do it again. The community
deserves to know what goes on at a university like this. Outreach
is an important role for us to take on. Taxpayers fund our grants,
and this is one way to give back for what they invest."
program works because faculty believe in it," she said. "They want
to contribute to intellectual life throughout the state, and we
try to make it as easy as possible for them to do that. By creating
a venue that brings together our talented faculty with intellectually
curious citizens throughout the state, we hope to continually engage
Virginians in the classroom experience and to fulfill one of our
goals as a research university: that is, the discovery and creation
of new knowledge and ideas. We're already planning our series for
next year. We want to expand to new towns and cities and continue
to present a diverse array of topics."
touching the lives of folks who otherwise might not be involved
in the regular for-credit courses we offer," said Rich Hoehlein,
director of U.Va.'s Hampton Roads Center. "This is a wonderful intellectual
enrichment opportunity for the public."
spring, Anthropology Professor Fred Damon gave a lecture about U.S.
elections as ritual from an anthropological point of view.
was not long after the 2000 election controversy," he said. "The
audience had a great interest in what I was saying. It was a rewarding
experience for me and I'd do it again. I firmly believe that people
at the University have an obligation to contribute to public discussions.
This kind of program helps to make the learning process a part of
life for people, rather than just a four-year period in their lives."
the spring schedule and more information, visit: http://www.virginia.edu/facultysenate/speakers/2020/
Fariss Samarrai, (434) 924-3778