Guest Lecture Series

Spring 2014

The Birth of a University
Steven J. Williams
March 18
7:30 PM
Scanlon Banquet Hall

Professor Williams discusses the benefits of understanding the origins of universities to help us understand ourselves as participants in our institution.  Professor Williams will address issues such as: 

  • What was and is the purpose of a university? 
  • What is the historical relationship between universities and political authority?
  • What role have students played in the life and economy of the university?

Steven J. Williams, is a medievalist specializing in intellectual and cultural history. 
He is currently a professor of history at New Mexico Highland University in Las Vegas, Nevada


An Evening of Poetry with Kate Rushin
March 26
7:00 PM
Location: TBD

Returning to Westfield State by popular demand, Kate Rushin will perform a public reading of her poetry.  The author of the bookThe Black Back-Ups, her “The Bridge Poem,” appears in This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color, a ground-breaking feminist anthology.  Kate will engage with the audience and answer questions following the reading.

A Connecticut resident, Kate currently teaches creative writing at the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts. She is a former Fellow of The Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown and a graduate fellow of Cave Canem Foundation. Kate received her B.A. from Oberlin College and her M.F.A. from Brown University.


Observing the Earth with NASA’s Satellite Program
Eric Ianson
April 3
7:00 PM
Scanlon Banquet Hall

Mr. Eric Ianson has been a leader at NASA for over nine years, working on space flight programs and projects. He will will delve into a topic that is not well recognized by the general public…NASA's substantial Earth Science program.  Mr. Ianson's presentation will offer a unique and rare opportunity to reflect upon NASA’s current and future Earth observing missions, focusing on the practicality of these projects to life on Earth. The lecture will spark critical thinking regarding the applicability and relevance of data obtained by NASA via the Earth Science Program.

Currently, Mr. Ianson is the Deputy Associate Director for the Earth Science Projects Division at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), overseeing a wide range of missions. His experiences include spacecraft, instrument and mission development and management.

Mr. Ianson received a B.S degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Rochester in 1990. He also earned an M.S. degree in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Southern California in 1993.


An Afternoon with Composer Libby Larsen
Conversation and Master Class
April 7
12:35 PM
Loughman Living Room, Scanlon Hall

“Music exists in an infinity of sound. I think of all music as existing in the substance of the air itself. It is the composer’s task to order and make sense of sound, in time and space, to communicate something about being alive through music.”

Libby Larsen is one of America’s most performed living composers. She has created a catalogue of over 500 works spanning virtually every genre from intimate vocal and chamber music to massive orchestral works and over twelve operas. Grammy Award winning and widely recorded, including over fifty CDs of her work, she is constantly sought after for commissions and premieres by major artists, ensembles, and orchestras around the world, and has established a permanent place for her works in the concert repertory.


*Note this schedule is subject to change.  Please check back for updates.

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