2013 Past Speakers

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Jeffrey Bennetzen

Dr. Bennetzen is a pioneer in the comparative analysis of plane genomes. His research currently focuses on plant genome structure and evolution, specifically transposable elements. An additional interest of his lab is the relationship between genome structure, evolution, and gene function. He was elected as a member of the National Academy of Sciences in 2004, […]

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Dr. Susan Bordo

  Susan Bordo (Ph.D. State University of New York, Stony Brook) is the Otis A. Singletary Chair in the Humanities and Professor of English and Gender and Women’s Studies at the University of Kentucky.  She is author of several books, including The Flight to Objectivity: Essays on Cartesianism and Culture (SUNY Press, 1987) and Unbearable Weight: Feminism, Western […]


Malaika Favorite

Malaika received her BFA (1971) and MFA (1973) in art from LSU Baton Rouge, LA. Her artwork is featured in: Art: African American by Samella Lewis, African American Art and Artist, also by Samella Lewis, Black Art in Louisiana by Bernardine B. Proctor and the St. James Guide to Black Artists, by Thomas Riggs. Her […]


Joan E. Strassmann

“Privatization, veils of ignorance, economics, and rapid evolution in micro-organisms.” Friday, November 15th at 3:30 in Monsanto Auditorium Joan E. Strassmann is an evolutionary biologist at Washington University in St. Louis, where she is Charles Rebstock Professor of Biology.  She was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2013. Professor Strassmann is interested in how […]


Makoto Arai

Makoto Arai is a Professor of Law at Chuo University in Tokyo, Japan (Tama Campus). Professor Arai is a graduate of the Faculty of Law at Keio University and received his Doctor of Jurisprudence degree from Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich. He was formerly Dean of the Law School at Tsukuba University. His research interests […]


David R. Williams

David R. Williams is the Florence Sprague Norman and Laura Smart Norman Professor of Public Health at the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) and Professor of African and African American Studies and of Sociology at Harvard University.


Dr. David Baulcombe

Professor Sir David Baulcombe received a PhD in Botany from the University of Edinburgh. He then completed postdoctoral fellows at McGill University (Canada) and the University of Georgia.


Dr. Eric Helland

Eric Helland is the William F. Podlich Professor of economics at Claremont McKenna College and an Economist at RAND’s Institute for Civil Justice.


Dr. Larry Hench

Larry Hench, University Professor of Biomedical Engineering in the Florida Institute of Technology College of Engineering, has been awarded the highly acclaimed international 2014 Acta Biomaterialia Gold Medal Award.


Margaret J. M. Ezell

Margaret J. M. Ezell is distinguished professor of English and Sara and John Lindsey Chair of Liberal Arts at Texas A&M University. She has received numerous awards and honors, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, two American Council of Learned Societies Fellowships and multiple National Endowment for the Humanities grants.


Lia Purpura

Lia Purpura is the author of three collections of poems (King Baby, Stone Sky Lifting, and The Brighter the Veil), three collections of essays (Rough Likeness, On Looking, Increase), and one collection of translations, (Poems of Grzegorz Musial: Berliner Tagebuch and Taste of Ash).


Rochel Gelman

Rochel Gelman has developed ways to study the ease with which very young children acquire intuitive understandings of natural numbers and arithmetic, that different sources of energy support the movement and change over time of separately movable animate and inanimate objects, that outcomes have causes, and the learning of words and conversationally appropriate ways of talking.


Charles Randy Gallistel

Charles Randy Gallistel is professor of psychology and former co-director of the Rutgers Center for Cognitive Science at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.


John Toussaint

Dr. John Toussaint is the founding chair of the Wisconsin Collaborative for Healthcare Quality and the Wisconsin Health Information Organization, CEO at ThedaCare Center for Healthcare Value and the non-executive leader of the Partnership for Healthcare Payment Reform in Wisconsin.


Deborah Willis

Named among the 100 Most Important People in Photography by American Photography Magazine, Dr. Deborah Willis is chair and professor of photography and imaging at Tisch School of the Arts.


Hank Willis Thomas

Hank Willis Thomas is a photo conceptual artist working with themes related to identity, history and popular culture.


Sophia McClennen

Professor Sophia McClennen of Pennsylvania State University is an internationally known scholar and the director of the Global Studies Program at Penn State.


Billy Hudson

Dr. Billy Hudson is scientifically acclaimed for his research in the area of ancient collagen proteins that compose basement proteins. He discovered and characterized collagen-IV proteins, in which structural alterations underlie the pathophysiology of four kidney diseases, including Goodpasture’s syndrome and Alport syndrome.


Augusta Read Thomas

Augusta Read Thomas is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a member of The American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and she was Mead Composer-in-Residence for Pierre Boulez and Daniel Barenboim of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra from 1997 through 2006.


Jianhua Zhang

Jianhua Zhang is a professor of plant biology in the School of Life Sciences at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. He is also director of the State Key Laboratory of Agrobiotechnology at the university.


Lydia Millet

Lydia Millet is the author of eleven books of fiction, most recently the novel Magnificence (2012), a finalist for the National Book Critics’ Circle and Los Angeles Times book awards. Magnificence is the last in a trilogy about extinction and loss that began with How the Dead Dream and Ghost Lights.


Marshall Mason

Marshall W. Mason and Danny Irvine discuss acting, directing and the business of theatre with students in Corner Playhouse.


Tony Kushner

Kushner is best known for his two-part epic, Angels In America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes, which won both a Tony Award and the Pulitzer Prize in 1993 and has been developed as an Emmy Award-winning TV miniseries and an opera.


Jeffrey Long

Jeffrey R. Long is a professor of chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley and faculty senior scientist in the Materials Sciences Division at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.


David Hillis

David Hillis has developed molecular approaches for reconstructing the evolutionary history of organisms, or phylogeny, with a particular emphasis on the relationships of amphibians. He also made significant contributions to the understanding of hybridization, molecular processes of evolutionary change and statistical analysis of biological phylogenies.


Olivia Gude

Professor Olivia Gude is a Chicago-based artist and educator who has become one of the most recognized names in 21st century art education. Born and raised in St. Louis, Gude was awarded the National Art Education Association’s 2009 Lowenfeld Award for significant contributions to the field of art education.


Peter Wiley

Cellist Peter Wiley enjoys a prolific career as a performer and teacher. He is a member of the piano quartet, OPUS ONE, a group he co-founded in 1998 with pianist Anne-Marie McDermott, violinist Ida Kavafian and violist Steven Tenenbom.


Frederic Chiu

Pianist Frederic Chiu performs in the world’s most prestigious halls including the Berlin Philharmonic, Kioi and Suntory Halls in Tokyo, Lincoln Center in New York City and Kennedy Center in Washington D.C.


Lynn Spigel

Lynn Spigel is the Frances E. Willard Professor of Screen Cultures in the school of communications at Northwestern University.


Antoinette Burton

Burton is a historian of 19th and 20th century Britain and its empire, with a specialty in colonial India and an ongoing interest in Australasia and Africa.


Randall Wright

Randall Wright, one of the world’s best known and most prolific researchers in monetary and macroeconomics, is a professor in the department of finance, investment and banking at the Wisconsin School of Business, where he holds the Ray Zemon Chair in Liquid Assets.


Nikolai Krylov

Professor Krylov is the Ordway Professor of Mathematics at the University of Minnesota. His contributions to Probability Theory and Differential Equations have earned him the Steele Prize of the American Mathematical Society “for Seminal Contribution to Research.”


Jon Kaas

Dr. Kaas is a Centennial Professor of Psychology, professor of cell biology and Kennedy Center investigator. He has studied the brain for some 35 years, most of them at Vanderbilt University.


Stephanie Coontz

Stephanie Coontz teaches history and family studies at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash., and is director of research and public education for the Council on Contemporary Families.


John Geyman

John Geyman, M.D. is professor emeritus of family medicine at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle, where he served as chairman of the Department of Family Medicine from 1976 to 1990. As a family physician with more than 25 years in academic medicine, he has also practiced in rural communities for 13 years.


Hedrick Smith

Hedrick Smith, Pulitzer Prize-winning former New York Times reporter and editor and Emmy award-winning producer/correspondent, has established himself during the past 50 years of his career as one of America’s most distinguished journalists.


Doug Rees

Doug Rees is a central figure in the determination of membrane protein structure by x-ray crystallography, notably transport proteins and mechanosensitive channels. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts & Sciences.


Randolph Phillip

Randy Philipp is an international leader in scholarship of the preparation and development of mathematics teachers, with a particular focus on professional noticing and attention to children’s thinking.


Byron Hurt

Byron Hurt is an award-winning documentary filmmaker, a published writer and an anti-sexism activist.


Kirby Dick

Kirby Dick is an Academy Award- and Emmy Award-nominated documentary director. He has been directing documentaries since 1986 and, beyond his Academy Award nominations for Twist of Faith (2005) and The Invisible War (2012), he has been recognized by the Sundance Film Festival, the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and the Broadcast Film Critics Association.


David Weisbach

David Weisbach serves as the Walter J. Blum Professor of Law at the University of Chicago Law School. He has published more than 50 articles and book chapters on issues relating to federal income taxation and climate change.


Brian Coats

Brian Coats has established a successful career in regional and off-Broadway theater that includes work on some of the most prestigious stages in the country: The Lincoln Center, People’s Light and Theater Company, The Public Theatre, New York Shakespeare in The Park.


Mark Majesky

Dr. Mark Majesky began his research training at the University of Washington and is now a professor with the Seattle Children’s Research Institute. He is director of the Myocardial Regeneration Initiative for the Center for Tissue and Cell Sciences.