Emory Report
February 6, 2006
Volume 58, Number 18


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February 6, 2006
Birthday cake for the brain: Week to feature slate of lectures

by katherine baust lukens

Emory’s ongoing Feb. 5–12 Founders Week celebration promises a robust schedule of academic, social and cultural events to celebrate Emory’s founding. The week kicked off on Sunday, Feb. 5, with a Glenn Auditorium address by Georgia Rep. John Lewis, but the intellectual fare continues this week with distinguished lectures from scholars from Emory and beyond.

Some established University events have been brought into the Founders Week calendar, like the annual Tenenbaum Family Lecture. Internationally renowned author and scholar Ruth Wisse, professor of Yiddish and comparative literature at Harvard, will present “Yiddish at the Center; English at the Margins,” on Wednesday, Feb. 8, at 7:30 p.m. in the Carlos Museum Reception Hall.

Another highlight is the Friday, Feb. 10, lecture by Brown University President Ruth Simmons, who will give her insight on “The University Between Past and Future,” at 4 p.m. in Cannon Chapel. Simmons comes from an experienced background in university administration; prior to becoming the first African American president of an Ivy League institution, she served as president of Smith College, vice provost at Princeton University, provost at Spelman College and associate graduate dean at the University of Southern California
Another annual lecture rolled into Founders Week is the Distinguished Faculty Lecture, sponsored by Faculty Council. This year’s speaker will be Dennis Liotta, professor of chemistry and one of the faculty members involved in last summer’s landmark Emtriva drug sale that brought some $540 million in royalty sales to Emory and the inventors. Liotta’s lecture is titled “New Therapies for Treating Viral Infections and Cancers,” and will be held on Mon. Feb. 6 at 4 p.m. in the Rita Rollins Room, School of Public Health.

“Part of my goal, since it is a mixed audience, is to try and present concepts to those who aren’t technically trained to understand the process of drug discovery and how to take it to the finish line,” Liotta said. “Most people’s lives have been touched by someone who has died from metastatic cancer. I will talk about the problems and leads—compounds that have a promising profile but haven’t yet gone to clinical trial—that we have.”

The School of Law’s John Witte, recently named the visiting Alonzo L. McDonald Family Professor on the Life and Teachings of Jesus and Their Impact on Culture, will deliver a lecture named for the chair on Thursday, Feb. 9. His lecture, “Freedom of a Christian: The Protestant Contributions to Modern Religious Liberty and Human Rights,” will be held at 4:30 p.m. in Cannon Chapel.

As McDonald Professor, Witte will deliver a series of lectures on the life and teachings of Jesus. He also will teach a course on religious liberty open to students in Emory’s law and theology schools, and to graduate and undergraduate students in the arts and sciences.

Founders Week is framed around the first meeting of the Emory College Board of Trustees, which occurred Feb. 6, 1837 (the college itself was founded a year earlier in Oxford). Other events include a 24-hour arts festival, a film festival and numerous concerts. Founders Week events are open to the public, and most are free. For more information, call 404-727-5039 or go to www.emory.edu/events.