<p>Brown University’s Commencement Forums and Alumni Reunion Forums, a series of academic colloquia by faculty, alumni, and distinguished guests, will begin on Saturday, May 23, 2009, at 9:30 a.m. Sessions range from economics and literature to nanotechnology and obesity. All forums are free and open to the public on a space-available basis.</p>

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — Nearly three dozen Brown University faculty, alumni, and distinguished guests will take part the 39th annual Commencement Forums and Alumni Reunion Forums on Saturday, May 23, 2009. This series of academic colloquia offers a window on the intellectual world of Brown, drawing upon the knowledge, talent and expertise of the Brown community to consider timely social, political and personal issues. This year’s speakers will share perspectives in a variety of fields, including nanotechnology, the arts and entertainment, urban education, evolution, and medicine.

Sixteen forums will be offered this year, with sessions running concurrently at 9:30 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m., and 3:30 p.m. Additionally, a 50th Reunion Reflection will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. Each of the 16 forum sessions will last 50 minutes and will include time for questions from the audience. All forums are free and open to the public on a space-available basis.

Persons with special needs who plan to attend a forum should contact the University Events Office at least 24 hours in advance at (401) 863-2474 during business hours or the Brown Department of Public Safety at (401) 863-3322 after business hours.

The schedule of Forums:

9:30 a.m

Rethinking the Rotting Y Chromosome
Sidney E. Frank Hall for Life Sciences, Nathan Marcuvitz Auditorium, Room 220

The Frank and Joan Rothman Lecture presents David C. Page, director of the Whitehead Institute, professor of biology at MIT, and investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. For many decades, the male-specific chromosome was understood to be a genetic wasteland of little import. This presentation will describe how recent genomic studies have revealed the Y chromosome’s architectural beauty, evolutionary dynamism, and critical role in male infertility.

Equity and Excellence in Urban Education: Alumni Innovation and Leadership
List Art Center, Room 120

Decades after A Nation at Risk, our country struggles with continuing gaps in educational opportunity and achievement. President Obama recently challenged the nation to double its college completion rate by 2025. Brown alumni play leadership roles in defining innovative approaches and taking action on this critical issue. Join a lively discussion of the issues and the alums’ work. Sponsored by the Swearer Center for Public Service, this Forum features Ellen Alberding ’79, P’12, president, Joyce Foundation; Richard Gray ’85, director, community organizing and engagement, Annenberg Institute for School Reform; Aleta Margolis ’89, founder and executive director, Center for Inspired Teaching; and Adeola Oredola ’02, executive director, Youth in Action; moderated by Warren Simmons, executive director, Annenberg Institute for School Reform.

Film Screening: Cultural Warriors
Salomon Center for Teaching, Room 001

Cultural Warriors, a new documentary film by the Global Media Project and Udris Productions, began as a road trip into the heart of the U.S. war machine; it ended up a long journey into the remarkable life and tragic death of Michael Bhatia ’99, a collaborator on the film and the first casualty of the U.S. Army’s controversial Human Terrain Teams. James Der Derian, professor, Watson Institute for International Studies, will lead the screening and discussion.

Water is Life
W. Duncan MacMillan Hall, Room 117

Mary Elmendorf, anthropologist and Brown honorary degree candidate, will present an overview of the growing recognition of water as a basic need and increasingly scarce resource, using a documentary film of a 1957 pilot project as the focus for discussion.

11 a.m.

Crisis: Policies to Strengthen a Troubled Economy
List Art Building, Room 120

The Obama administration is implementing new policies to address the nationwide economic crisis and stabilize consumer confidence. Where is it all heading? Are we entering an era of more regulation and government intervention? What policy options remain in the toolbox? This panel, sponsored by the Pembroke Center for Teaching and Research on Women, will discuss the current state of the U.S. economy and the prospects for recovery. Participants are Randall S. Kroszner ’84, the Norman R. Bobins Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and a former governor of the Federal Reserve Board; Annette L. Nazareth ’78, Brown trustee, partner at Davis, Polk & Wardwell, and former commissioner of the Securities and Exchange Commission; and Jill Schlesinger ’87, editor-at-large, CBS MoneyWatch.com.

Obesity: A Different National Energy Problem
MacMillan Hall, Starr Auditorium, Room 117

The 14th Annual Ruth B. Sauber Distinguished Medical Alumni Lecture presents Griffin Platt Rodgers ’76, ’79 M.M.Sc.,’79 M.D., director, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health. Obesity has reached epidemic proportions in the United States, and biomedical research has opened new avenues for prevention and treatment. We are learning more about the interrelationship of metabolic, social, and disease networks and how they contribute to obesity. These research advances will add to physicians’ therapeutic arsenals in helping their patients maintain a healthy weight. Join Rodgers, Ruth Sauber, and fellow alumni for an informal reception immediately following the lecture.

Responsibility to Imagine: Literature on the Front Lines
Salomon Center for Teaching, De Ciccio Family Auditorium

Writers work at the intersection of the ideas, emotions, and politics of their times. Sometimes, in some places, they are viewed as if they are wielding weapons, not words; they are threatened, imprisoned, and even killed. Joanne Leedom-Ackerman, ’74 A.M., vice president, International PEN, will talk about how the community of writers works in more than 102 countries to keep the corridors for writing and free expression open. Sponsored by the Graduate School.

Riding the Rapids: Career Management in Today’s Economy
Alumni Reunion Forum
MacMillan Hall, Room 115

The crisis in the global economy has affected thousands around the world, including members of the Brown alumni family. Join us for a panel featuring seasoned alumni recruiters, journalists, and bloggers to hear their thoughts, insights, and suggestions for effective career management in these challenging times. Panelists include Scott Harris ’74, DHR International; Rahsan Lindsay ’94, MTV Networks; and journalist and author Hannah Seligson ’04, moderated by author Vicky Oliver.

The 1968 Walkout: A Turning Point in Brown’s History
Alumni Reunion Forum
Salomon Center for Teaching, Room 001

On Dec. 5, 1968, African American students at Brown and Pembroke colleges left campus to protest what they saw as a lack of University support for black students. Forty years later, Brown is a changed institution. Alumni who participated in the five-day demonstration will be joined by alumni parents of current students to reflect on their Brown experience during the Civil Rights Movement and discuss how far we’ve come. Panelists include Kenneth McDaniel ’69, Dean Dent ’74, and Theodore Sherrod ’69, moderated by Spencer Crew ’71, the Robinson Professor of Humanities, George Mason University.

1 p.m.

AfterShock: What to Do When the Doctor Gives You or Someone You Love A Devastating Diagnosis
W. Duncan Macmillan Hall, Room 117

Advances in health care technology and delivery promise increases in the length and quality of life — but we will only realize those benefits if we are able to knowledgeably, actively participate in our care. Jessie Gruman, president, the Center for Advancing Health and honorary degree candidate, will discuss what this means for us as patients and patients-to-be.

Darwin, God, and Design - America's Continuing Problem with Evolution
Salomon Center, De Ciccio Family Auditorium

Are the critics of evolution right? Is it time to replace “Darwinism” with ideas like “intelligent design” or, at the very least, to introduce criticisms of evolution into our educational system? These arguments were at the heart of the landmark Kitzmiller v. Dover trial on the teaching of intelligent design. As the lead witness for the victorious plaintiffs in that trial, Kenneth Miller ’70, professor of biology, will assess the state of this conflict in America today and suggest ways in which the scientific and educational communities can respond.

This Miniature Life — Anticipating a Future Shaped by Nanotechnology
W. Duncan Macmillan Hall, Room 115

Two decades of scientific research on tiny objects has brought the field of nanotechnology to the brink of widespread commercialization. What can we expect from a future world saturated with nanoparticle-based products? Robert Hurt, director of the Institute for Molecular and Nanoscale Innovation at Brown, will use examples of research from Brown and elsewhere to illustrate both the promise and peril of nanotechnology for the 21st century. Sponsored by Maurice and Yetta Glicksman.

When Kids Drop Out of School: Why Should We Care?
List Art Center, Room 120

Rob DeBlois ’82 A.M., founder and director of the Urban Collaborative Accelerated Program (UCAP) in Providence, will discuss one of the major problems facing our nation today: kids dropping out of school. He will show clips from Accelerating America, an award-winning documentary by Timothy Hotchner ’96 that follows three UCAP students struggling to overcome the challenges of poverty, abandonment, and previous school failure.

2-4 p.m.

50th Reunion Reflections
Biomedical Center, Room 202

All are invited to join internationally known specialists from the class of 1959 as they reflect on their life’s work in the fields of art, science, social studies, and sports. Panelists will include a co-author of the pioneering Our Bodies, Ourselves, a distinguished gynecologic oncologist, a professional boxing judge, and a museum curator and lecturer on Native American studies. Participation and discussion are encouraged.

3:30 p.m.

How to Stay Up When the Economy Is Down: Natural Ways to Reduce Stress, Boost Energy, and Maintain Health
Sidney E. Frank Hall for Life Sciences, Nathan Marcuvitz Auditorium, Room 220

When chronic stress depletes energy and cellular repair mechanisms fail, medical illnesses are more likely to progress. This presentation by Patricia L. Gerbarg ’71, P’01 ’03 ’07, assistant clinical professor in psychiatry, New York Medical College, and co-author of How to Use Herbs, Nutrients, and Yoga in Mental Health, will cover safe, effective methods to improve energy, mood, productivity, and stress resilience, focusing on an ancient medicinal herb, Rhodiola rosea, and on breath-body-mind practices that rapidly reduce anxiety and bring the stress-response system into balance. Presented by the Charles O. Cooke, M.D., Distinguished Visiting Lectureship. Patricia Gerbarg's book will be available for purchase and signing immediately following this lecture.

Cue the Music: The Role of Music in Film and Television
Alumni Reunion Forum
Macmillan Hall, Room 117

Whether a commercial or soundtrack, headline concert or movie, music video or television series, music plays a significant role in many film and television productions. Seasoned alumni share their professional experiences within the music and entertainment industry and discuss their perspectives on the importance of music in various types of productions.

Panelists include Matt Hauser ’89, composer, Big Foote Music; Stephen Hill ’84, co-president of programming, Black Entertainment Television; Clara Markowicz ’94, co-founder, Original Media; Lee Rolontz ’84, senior vice president, original music production, VH1.