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Inauguration Symposium explores global impact of research

As master of ceremonies Robert Thornton noted, the day began with a Nobel laureate and ended with a poet laureate. In between came a National Medal of Science winner in brain research, the president of the American Academy of Religion, and a leading scholar in globalization.

The diverse presentations at Thursday’s daylong Academic Symposium held in honor of the inauguration of Alice P. Gast as Lehigh’s 13th president were tied together by common threads, Gast said in her concluding remarks: Each of the speakers brought “messages of inquiry, questioning and hope.”

The symposium, held in Zoellner Arts Center’s Baker Hall, featured five internationally renowned scholars as keynote speakers. Each was introduced and, as part of their presentations, interviewed by Lehigh faculty members. Throughout the day, an exhibition of research conducted by undergraduate and graduate students was on display in the lobby outside.

In her concluding remarks, Gast thanked the faculty members who participated in the symposium, as well as in the seminars leading up to it, for doing “such a superb job of framing the presentations and engaging the speakers in wonderful dialogues that helped us learn more about them and understand their work even more.”

Gast, who received an abstract of the student research signed by all of the participating students, said: “These students really have blown us all away. And there is very much hope for tomorrow because we have such wonderful students and wonderful scholars coming along.”

The theme of hope was a recurring one throughout the day, Gast said. Each of the speakers touched upon “the importance of asking questions, of delving into areas where there is still uncertainty, and where you don’t know the answers already. And you tempered your discussions of uncertainties with hope and with positive results, and that’s what made it so special for all of us.”

The Academic Symposium was titled “A Celebration of Research and Its Global Impact,” and it certainly lived up to its billing. For articles on each of the five sessions, click on the links below.

Stormer: Computing on verge of quantum leap

Graybiel: Unlocking mysteries of the human brain

Stout: Refusing to defer to others is most powerful tool

Appadurai: U.S. research universities in era of transition

Strand: Figuring out what comes next

For more about the student exhibition, read:

Student research and scholarship celebrated

Visit the Inauguration Web site for full coverage, including video, audio, and photo galleries.


Posted on Wednesday, April 11, 2007

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