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North Park University Announces Campus Theme Lectures for 2012-2013 Academic Year

Sir Peter Crane
Sir Peter Crane presents the first Campus Theme Lecture Sept. 17 at North Park University.

Speakers to address, 'What Is Nature?'

CHICAGO (August 27, 2012) — North Park University will host four prominent speakers in its annual Campus Theme Lecture Series, a series of public discussions reflecting a common theme throughout the academic year. For 2012–2013, speakers will address the theme, "What Is Nature?"

The lectures focus the University academic community on one question fundamental to human experience, said Dr. Karl Clifton-Soderstrom, assistant professor of philosophy as well as the director of general education and the Campus Theme Lecture Series. "The meaning, purpose, and interaction with the natural environment, in many ways, is one of the definitive questions with which a culture or historical age must wrestle, he said. "We chose the theme not only for its present cultural import but because it explicitly brings the sciences into dialogue with wider campus commitments to the arts, justice, multiculturalism, and the Christian faith."

Beginning with Sir Peter Crane's lecture Sept. 17, the speaker lineup is representative of the overall mission of North Park as a Christian liberal arts university, Clifton-Soderstrom said. "Each of our speakers has an impressive resume, is widely respected globally, and has also has sought to answer this question is truly interdisciplinary ways," he added.

All lectures will be held at North Park University's Anderson Chapel, 3225 W. Foster Ave., Chicago.

September 17

The Biological Scientist: Sir Peter Crane

Dr. Crane has had a distinguished and diverse career in the biological sciences. He is currently dean of the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, Yale University, New Haven, Conn. For many years, he was director of England’s renowned Royal Botanical Gardens (KEW), was director of the Field Museum, Chicago, for four years, and was a professor for seven years at the University of Chicago's Geophysical Science program. He is the author of seven books, more than 200 articles in both scientific and popular journals, and was knighted in 2004 for his conservation work.

October 15

The Nature Writer: Barry Lopez

Best-selling and award-winning author Barry Lopez is widely recognized as one of this generation's best nature writers. His is author of Arctic Dreams, for which he received the National Book Award; Of Wolves and Men, a National Book Award finalist for which he received the John Burroughs and Christopher medals; and eight works of fiction, including Light Action in the Caribbean, Field Notes, and Resistance. His essays are collected in two books, Crossing Open Ground and About This Life. He contributes regularly to Granta, The Georgia Review, Orion, Outside, The Paris Review, Manoa and other publications in the United States and abroad. His writings have appeared in dozens of anthologies, including Best American Essays, Best Spiritual Writing, and "best" collections from National Geographic, Outside, The Georgia Review, The Paris Review, and other periodicals. His more recent publications include The Future of Nature

November 1

The Environmental Activist: Dr. Vandana Shiva

Named by Forbes in 2010 as one of the most influential women in the world today, Dr. Shiva is a distinguished physicist and environmental activist from India. She is best known for her work on environmentally sound food production that honors both the earth and human rights, with particular attention paid to the rights of women in the agriculture systems within developing countries. Among her many awards, she was granted the 2010 Sydney Peace Prize, the Medal of the Presidency of the Italian Republic, Calgary Peace Prize, and the Thomas Merton Award  

March 1, 10:30 a.m.

The Christian Astrophysicist: Dr. Jennifer Wiseman

Dr. Wiseman is an astronomer and director of the Dialogue on Science, Ethics, and Religion for the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She is the senior project scientist for the Hubble Space Telescope at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, where she previously headed the Laboratory for Exoplanets and Stellar Astrophysics. Wiseman received a bachelor’s degree in physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a doctorate in astronomy from Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass. She has been active in the dialogue on Christian faith and science over the years, and she has been featured on several broadcasts devoted to these topics. 


Use @npunews to follow North Park University News on Twitter. For further information or resources, contact John Brooks, Director of Media Relations and News, via email or at (773) 244-5522. Learn more about North Park University.

Next Steps

Learn about the University's Campus Theme lectures, including last year's participants.