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Academics

Vernon L. Pack Distinguished Lecture Series

The Vernon L. Pack Distinguished Lecture and Scholar in Residence program was established in 2002 through a generous gift from alumnus Vernon L. Pack, a 1950 graduate of the University. A distinguished lecturer visits campus to address important current issues that will allow the Otterbein community to reflect on ethical, spiritual and social issues. In alternate years, an esteemed scholar is invited to campus to reside for up to one academic year in order to provide an educational enrichment experience for Otterbein students.

2014 Lecturer: Sir Salman Rushdie

"Public Events, Private Lives: Literature and Politics in the Modern World"

Sir Salman RushdieOtterbein welcomed novelist Sir Salman Rushdie to campus on April 10-11, 2014, as the Vernon L. Pack Distinguished Lecturer. 

At the lecture on April 10, approximately 1,000 people heard Sir Salman Rushdie’s inspiring, and often humorous, message about the power of the novel to capture the beauty and complexity of the human character. The audience was challenged to reject the simplistic characterizations of people so prevalent in our modern culture and mainstream media. Many attendees met Rushdie at the book signing following the lecture.

Rushdie visited classes on April 11, answering student questions on such topics as literature, politics and religion.

Otterbein thanks Vernon L. Pack ’50 for funding this opportunity to bring Mr. Rushdie, an internationally-renowned writer and public figure, to our community to deliver a powerful and important message to our students, faculty, staff and guests. It was an event that clearly reflected the purpose of the Vernon L. Pack Distinguished Lecture Series:  To create a vibrant and significant forum for the thoughtful exchange of ideas.

Rushdie is one of the most celebrated authors of our time. He penned a handful of classic novels, influenced a generation of writers, and received a Queen’s Knighthood for “services to literature.” He stands as both a pop culture icon and one of the most thought-provoking proponents for free speech today. His novels include Midnight's Children, The Satanic Verses, The Moor's Last Sigh, The Ground Beneath Her Feet and The Enchantress of Florence. Read more about Rushdie at www.salman-rushdie.com.

Previous Lectures

2002 - Doris Kerns Goodwin, acclaimed historian and Pulitzer Prize in history winner for No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II.

2004 - Fareed Zakaria, editor of Newsweek International and host of CNN's international affairs program Fareed Zakaria GPS.

2005 - Alan Lightman, noted physicist and critically acclaimed author of Einstein's Dreams.

2008 - Ed Begley, Jr., actor and environmentalist.

2010 – Dee Dee Myers, White House press secretary under President Clinton from 1993-1994, political analyst and commentator, and author of Why Women Should Rule the World. Myers is an expert on the issues facing women in Washington and in leadership positions of all kinds.

2012 – Dr. Steven Pinker, Harvard University professor, best-selling author and Pulitzer Prize finalist. He has been listed on TIME magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in The World” and Foreign Policy magazine's list of “The World’s Top 100 Public Intellectuals.”

Distinguished Scholars in Residence

2003 - Dr. Valentine Moghadam, a professor born in Iran, who conducts research regarding development, social change, and gender in the Middle East, North Africa, and Afghanistan.

2005- Lois Raimondo, an internationally-known photojournalist and Pulitzer Prize finalist nominee for her work on the New York City Mitchell Lama housing project for New York Newsday.

2007 - Wande Abimbola, President of the International Congress of Orisa Tradition and Culture, and world-renowned expert on Ifa, a West African sacred divinatory and literary system.

2009 - Dr. Richard Alley, an acclaimed geologist who conducts research on environmental issues including abrupt climate changes, glaciers, ice sheet collapse and sea level change. 

2011 - Harrell Fletcher, renowned visual and conceptual artist and recipient of the 2005 Alpert Award in Visual Arts.

2013 - Dr. Robert Fefferman, acclaimed mathematician in the field of harmonic analysis and its applications to elliptic partial differential equations and its relationship to probability theory. 

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