Distributed March 26, 2002
For Immediate Release

News Service Contact: Mary Jo Curtis

The City: No Limits

Tom Wolfe to open 22nd annual Brown/Providence Journal conference

Author Tom Wolfe will headline The City: No Limits, the 22nd annual Brown University/ Providence Journal Public Affairs Conference, April 14-19, 2002. He will deliver the keynote address, titled “Cities of Ambition,” on Sunday, April 14, at 4 p.m. in the Richard and Edna Salomon Center for Teaching.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Urban leaders and visionaries will consider the future and the promise of our cities in the 22nd annual Brown University/Providence Journal Public Affairs Conference, The City: No Limits, April 14-19, 2002.

Award-winning author Tom Wolfe will open the week-long conference, delivering the keynote lecture – titled “Cities of Ambition” – on Sunday, April 14, at 4 p.m. in the Salomon Center for Teaching on The College Green. His address will be the 2002 Michael P. Metcalf–Howard R. Swearer Memorial Lecture, honoring the memory of public affairs conference founders Michael P. Metcalf, former chairman and publisher of The Providence Journal, and Howard R. Swearer, Brown’s 15th president.

Considered “the father of New Journalism,” Wolfe is the author of The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, The Bonfire of the Vanities, the award-winning The Right Stuff, and nine other books. For more than three decades he has chronicled and forecast American mass culture with wit and insight. Raised in Richmond, Va., he received his bachelor’s degree from Washington and Lee University and a doctorate in American studies from Yale University. He began his career as a reporter at the Springfield Union, then moved on to the Washington Post and the New York Herald Tribune, where he began to push the envelope on conventional journalism. He has since written for New York magazine, Rolling Stone, Esquire and Harper’s.

In 1979 Wolfe won the American Book Award for general nonfiction for The Right Stuff. He was given the 1980 Harold D. Vursell Memorial Award by the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters and received the Columbia Journalism Award for distinguished service in journalism that same year. His most recent novel, A Man in Full (1990), garnered a National Book Award nomination. In 1999 he was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

The City: No Limits will examine the spirit and contemplate the future of the city by drawing together the leaders and visionaries – the architects, educators, policy-makers, artists, activists and philosophers – who are forging its renaissance. Their efforts, combined with the will of its citizens, ensure that the city’s horizon is broad and its potential limitless. Together they will attempt to answer such questions as To what heights, what possibilities do city residents aspire? Will the city’s classrooms be spaces of learning or discord for its children? What business will fill the city’s marketplace? What architecture will reflect the city’s vision of itself? Can its art and culture represent all citizens?

The conference, free and open to the public, will continue Monday through Friday, according to the schedule below.

Editors: Several guest speakers will be available for telephone interview before the conference opens. Contact the News Service for details.

The City: No Limits

Sunday, April 14
“Cities of Ambition”
The Michael P. Metcalf and Howard R. Swearer Memorial Lecture
4 p.m., Salomon Center for Teaching, The College Green

In the keynote address, writer Tom Wolfe will discuss how, in the face of turning points and crisis, great cities can overcome obstacles through spirit and leadership.

Monday, April 15
“The Future of Public Education: No Limits”
6:30 p.m., Salomon Center for Teaching

Harold Levy, chancellor of the New York City Board of Education, Margaret Beale Spencer of the University of Pennsylvania, and Wendy Puriefoy, president of the Public Education Network in Washington, D.C., will discuss the challenges of preparing city students for the future in the face of teacher shortages, controversial testing and threatened federal funding.

Tuesday, April 16
“The Urban Prescription”
6:30 p.m., Starr Auditorium, MacMillan Hall, 167 Thayer St.

University of Chicago sociologist Saskia Sassen, author of The Global City, and Paul Grogan, president of the philanthropic Boston Foundation and co-author of Comeback Cities: A Blueprint for Urban Neighborhood Revival, will take a look at how America’s largest cities have survived periods of decline to recover and become home to international economic networks.

Wednesday, April 17
“Building Blocks: Symbolism in the Skyline”
4 p.m., Rhode Island School of Design Auditorium, Water Street
[Note time change. This session was originally announced for 6:30 p.m.]

Internationally renowned architects Rafael Viñoly and Zaha Hadid will discuss how architectural icons come to represent a city’s culture, commerce and ingenuity. Viñoly was the architect for Philadelphia’s Philharmonic Hall and Brown’s own new Watson Institute; Hadid is a London-based modernist architectural designer.

Thursday, April 18
“Once More Into the Melting Pot”
6:30 p.m., Salomon Center for Teaching

Henry Cisneros, a Clinton administration HUD secretary and a four-term mayor of San Antonio, will examine the role of international immigration in providing cities with intellectual energy, cultural definition and an economic infusion.

Friday, April 19
“The Climate for Culture”
4 p.m., Salomon Center for Teaching

Panelists David McKinney, president of the Metropolitan Museum of New York; Kinshasha Holman Conwill, chairman of the National Museum Service Board; and Oskar Eustis, artistic director of Trinity Repertory Company, will consider how a thriving arts scene can serve as the heart of the most dynamic cities and, at the same time, both communicate and challenge its community values.