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Lectures mark centennial celebration for Curry School of Education
William G. Bowen, Noted Educator And Author, To Discuss New Findings On Equity And Excellence In Higher Education

March 31, 2004 -- Most students recognize the benefits of affirmative action in higher education for everybody and value “learning through diversity,” according to the landmark 1998 book, “The Shape of the River: Long-Term Consequences of Considering Race in College and University Admissions,” by former university presidents William G. Bowen and Derek Bok.

In a special presentation marking the beginning of the U.Va. Curry School of Education’s centennial year, Bowen, president of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, will give three lectures for the Thomas Jefferson Foundation Distinguished Lecture Series. Bowen will talk about “Equity and Excellence in American Higher Education” on April 6, 7 and 13 at U.Va. There will be a question-and-answer period after each talk.

As seating in the two locations is limited, an R.S.V.P. to the Curry School Foundation at 924-0854 or curry-foundation@virginia.edu is encouraged.

Bowen’s first lecture , “In Pursuit of Excellence” (April 6, 7 p.m. in Ruffner Auditorium), will examine higher education’s enduring commitment to educate large numbers of people to a high standard and to advance and disseminate knowledge. Bowen will discuss the evolution of the goals of higher education in this country, achievements to date, challenges to the continued vitality of the higher education system and the way in which the pursuit of excellence today depends on the success in pursuing the equity objective.

The second lecture, “The Quest for Equity: ‘Class’ (socio-economic status) in American Higher Education,” (April 7, 4 p.m. in the Rotunda Dome Room), will first explore briefly how such historically discriminatory barriers and boundaries as political and religious tests, anti-Semitism, ethnic quotas and gender bias have evolved over the years. Bowen then will present new evidence on the impact of socioeconomic status on admissions, matriculation and academic performance at a set of selective public and private colleges and universities, including U.Va.

Bowen’s final lecture, “Stand and Prosper: Race and American Higher Education” (April 13, 4 p.m. in Ruffner Auditorium), will trace the historical development of the relationship between race and higher education in America, discuss the changes wrought by the Civil Rights Movement, and then focus on challenges to race-sensitive admissions, or affirmative action. Building on themes that he and Bok explored in “The Shape of the River,” the last lecture will consider the future of racial preferences, the role of enrichment and recruitment programs, and the likelihood that racial preferences will no longer be needed in 25 years — the time horizon proposed by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra O’Connor.

The Thomas Jefferson Foundation Distinguished Lecture Series was created three years ago with a generous gift from the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, which owns and operates Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson.

Thomas Jefferson Foundation Distinguished Lecturer William Bowen
Equity and Excellence in American Higher Education on April 6, 7 and 13
April 6 • In Pursuit of Excellence
7 p.m., Ruffner Auditorium
April 7 • The Quest for Equity: “Class” (Socio-Economic Status) in American Higher Education
4 p.m., Rotunda Dome Room
April 13 • Stand and Prosper: Race and American Higher Education
4 p.m., Ruffner Auditorium

Contact: Barbara Schmertz, (434) 924-3086

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Contact the Office of University Relations at (434) 924-7116. Television reporters should contact the TV News Office at (434) 924-7550.

SOURCE: U.Va. News Services

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Last Modified: Wednesday, 02-Nov-2005 10:39:48 EST
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