Commencement & Reunion Weekend Forums
Saturday, May 28, 2016

Brown University's Commencement & Reunion Weekend Forums present a wide range of academic and topical colloquia led by faculty, alumni, and distinguished guests. Come explore the breadth of knowledge and experience in the Brown community, and help celebrate Brown's many triumphs in education, research, and service. 

9:00 Am Forums 11:00 Am Forums 12:30 Pm Forums 3:30 Pm Forums

9:00 Am

Translating a Trillion Points of Data into Therapies, Diagnostics, and New Insights into Disease
The Ruth B. Sauber Distinguished Medical Alumni Lecture
Atul Butte ’91, ’95 MMS, ’95 MD, director, Institute for Computational Health Sciences; professor, pediatrics, University of California, San Francisco
Methods for rapid translation of genome-era discoveries into clinical solutions are urgently needed. But scientists’ quests to move genetic medicine from the lab bench to the medical clinic are frequently slowed by roadblocks. Dr. Atul Butte, a bioinformatician and pediatric endocrinologist, discusses how the nascent field of translational biology can help researchers bridge this gap. Dr. Butte’s lab builds and applies tools that convert trillions of points of molecular, clinical, and epidemiological data – measured by researchers and clinicians over the past decade and now commonly termed “big data” – into new insights into disease, as  well as cutting-edge diagnostics and therapeutics. In this forum Dr. Butte will highlight opportunities to use publicly available molecular measurements to find new uses for drugs, and explain how the next generation of biotech companies might even start in your garage.
Smith Buonanno, Room 106, 95 Cushing Street
Sponsored by the Brown Medical Alumni Association


Responding to Ebola: Perspectives from the Front Line
Moderator: Marc Siegel, associate professor of medicine, New York University School of Medicine; medical director of Doctor Radio and NYU and SiriusXM; FoxNews medical correspondent
Panelists: Timothy Flanigan, professor of medicine • Rebecca Reece, clinical professor, infectious diseases • Michael A. Smit, assistant professor, pediatric infectious diseases 
Members of the Brown community have been actively engaged in responding to the Ebola tragedy centered in the West African nations of Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Mali. Through teaching, research, and service, a number of students, faculty, and alumni have raised both awareness and funds to address the virus and its devastating impact. Several members of the Alpert Medical School faculty have been on the front lines in West Africa, serving as first responders to treat victims and fight the virus. This forum provides an opportunity to hear from physicians who have been to the region about their experience, perspectives, and prognosis for the future. Breakfast reception to follow.
Watson Institute, Joukowsky Forum, 111 Thayer St. 
Sponsored by the Watson Institute for International Studies and the Global Health Initiative


Weather, Climate and Resilience: What Environmental Intelligence Means for You
Kathryn Sullivan, Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and NOAA administrator; honorary degree recipient • James W. Head, Louis and Elizabeth Scherck Distinguished Professor of the Geological Sciences, Department of Earth, Environmental, and Planetary Sciences
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is a U.S. Government agency charged with keeping citizens informed of the changing environment around them. In this forum, NOAA administrator and former NASA astronaut Kathryn D. Sullivan describes the agency’s activities ranging from daily weather forecasts, severe storm warnings, and climate monitoring to fisheries management, coastal restoration and supporting marine commerce. 
She shows how NOAA’s products and services support community resilience and economic vitality. Jim Head, a professor of planetary geoscience at Brown, will introduce the forum, which will include extensive discussion about NOAA and its role in observing the planet today to prepare for the future.
Metcalf Research Laboratory, Friedman Auditorium, Room 101, 190 Thayer St. 


A History of Brown as Told by Flowers
Erika Edwards, associate professor, ecology and evolutionary biology • Tim Whitfeld, Brown Herbarium collections manager; assistant professor, ecology and evolutionary biology • Patrick Rashleigh, data visualization coordinator, integrated technology services, University Library
What can 130-year-old preserved plant specimens tell us about our past and our future? The Brown University Herbarium and Libraries teamed up to create a visually stunning walk through the historical collections of Brown plant specimens using the 7-by-16 foot digital display wall in the Rockefeller Library’s Patrick Ma Digital Scholarship Lab.
John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Library, Patrick Ma Digital Scholarship Lab 
Sponsored by the University Library



The History of an Idea
Ted Widmer, author, assistant to the president for special projects, Brown University
Brown is pleased to mark the concluding weekend of the 250th Anniversary with the launch of a new publication, Brown: The History of an Idea. Author Ted Widmer, former director of the John Carter Brown Library, will share insights and surprises gathered while researching and writing this compelling and engaging new history of the country’s seventh oldest institution of higher education.
Building for Environmental Research & Teaching, Carmichael Auditorium, 85 Waterman St. 


Book Talk: The Pope and Mussolini
David Kertzer ’69, Watson Institute Faculty Fellow; Paul Dupee University Professor of Social Science; professor of anthropology and Italian studies
Join David Kertzer for a discussion of his 2015 Pulitzer Prize winning book, The Pope and Mussolini: The Secret History of Pius XI and the Rise of Fascism in Europe. The book tells the gripping story of Pope Pius XI’s secret relations with Italian dictator Benito Mussolini. This groundbreaking work, based on seven years of research in the Vatican and Fascist archives, includes reports from Mussolini’s spies inside the highest levels of the Church and will forever change our understanding of the Vatican’s role in the rise of fascism in Europe.
Perry and Marty Granoff Center for the Creative Arts, Martinos Auditorium, 154 Angell St. 
Sponsored by The Watson Institute for International Studies



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11:00 Am

Tenure, She Wrote: Women in the Academy
Moderator: Nancy L. Buc ’65, ’94 LLD, trustee emerita, Corporation of Brown University; former chair, Pembroke Center Associates Council
Panelists: Sangeeta N. Bhatia ’90, biomedical engineer; professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology • Louise Lamphere, distinguished professor of anthropology emerita, University  of New Mexico; honorary degree recipient • Mary Renda ’81, associate professor, history, Mount Holyoke College • Judith Sims-Knight ’65, Chancellor Professor of Psychology, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth

In 1974-75, when Louise Lamphere filed a class action lawsuit against Brown University for sexual discrimination, women comprised less than eight percent of Brown’s faculty. This academic year, women make up thirty percent of Brown’s faculty, and only twenty-seven percent of its tenured faculty. The ranks of women faculty in higher education have grown across the nation, but challenges remain, particularly for women of color. Join Louise Lamphere and Brown alumnae who are tenured at other institutions for a discussion about how the roles of female faculty have changed, how gender inequality has nonetheless persisted, and what they see as the challenges and opportunities for women in the academy today.
Pembroke Hall, Room 305, 172 Meeting Street 
Sponsored by the Pembroke Center for Teaching and Research on Women and the Pembroke Center Associates


The Magic Penny Effect: Finding Individual Happiness Through Your Relationships to Others
The Charles O. Cooke, MD, Distinguished Visiting Lectureship
Scott Haltzman ’82, ’85 MD, associate clinical professor, medicine, Florida State University; medical director, psychiatry, St. Joseph’s Hospital; author
Recall the song, “Love is Like a Magic Penny,” in which we learn that we grow richer by giving away love. Research suggests that positive relationships with others are, indeed, powerful determinants for an individual’s sense of well-being. Lifetime relationships, including marriage, are associated with higher happiness levels, as well as improved physical and mental health. Dr. Haltzman, author of The Secrets of Happy Families, The Secrets of Surviving Infidelity, The Secrets of Happily Married Men, and The Secrets of Happily Married Women, will discuss how relational skills can foster improved connections with others and increase a sense of fulfillment for all parties.
Smith-Buonanno Hall, Room 106, 95 Cushing St. 
Sponsored by the Brown Medical Alumni Association


Curator’s Tour of In Deo Speramus: The Symbols and Ceremonies of Brown University
William Simmons, exhibit curator; professor, anthropology
William Simmons will lead a tour of the Haffenreffer Museum’s exhibit celebrating Brown’s 250th anniversary. This exhibit takes an anthropological look at The Symbols and Ceremonies of Brown University and features archives and objects that are not typically available for close viewing.
Manning Hall, 1st floor, 21 Prospect St. 
Sponsored by the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology


The Search for Life in the Universe
Lynn Rothschild ’85 PhD, senior scientist, NASA Ames Research Center; 2015 Horace Mann Medalist
Are we truly “alone”? We have come to realize that where there is liquid water on Earth, there is life. Because of this, each report of liquid water existing in the solar system has reverberated through the international press and excited the imagination of humankind. Dr. Lynn Rothschild, an evolutionary biologist known for her work on life in extreme environments and a founder of the field of astrobiology, tells us about intriguing new data. Rothschild will discuss an experimental approach with synthetic biology as well as new information about how microbes survive in space, the transfer of life between celestial bodies, and the prevalence of potential abodes for life in our solar system and beyond. This evidence suggests that life could be more common than previously thought.
Metcalf Research Laboratory, Friedman Auditorium, Room 101, 190 Thayer St. 
Sponsored by the Graduate School


Who Pays? Who Cares? Innovations in Health Care
Moderator: Judith D. Bentkover, adjunct professor, health services, policy, and practice; executive director and academic director, Executive Master of Healthcare Leadership Program
Panelists: Heather Marshall, FACEP director of strategic development, Tacoma Emergency Care Physicians • Thomas ‘Toby’ Barker, state representative, Mississippi, House District 102
In the modern healthcare landscape, who will deliver care and how it will be delivered is an area of significant movement and innovation. Equally important, transformative changes on the pay side are also changing the way healthcare is funded and provided. This forum will include two case studies from Brown executive master students – one from the care side, one from the pay side – who discuss how their work has addressed recent innovations in this rapidly changing field.
MacMillan Hall, Room 115, 167 Thayer St.


String Theory (Amistad Voices)
An epistolary drama featuring the Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice’s Heimark Artists in Residence and the acclaimed Marian Anderson String Quartet, the first ever African American ensemble to win a major classical music competition.
Churchill House, George Houston Bass Performing Arts Space, 155 Angell St.


A Conversation with Tracee Ellis Ross ’94
Tracee Ellis Ross ’94, honorary degree recipient • Professor Tricia Rose ’93 PhD, director, Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America (CSREA) 
Tracee Ellis Ross, an honorary degree recipient, is widely recognized for her comedic roles as Joan Clayton in Girlfriends and more recently as Dr. Rainbow Johnson in the series Black-ish. Ms. Ross graduated from Brown University in 1994 with a bachelor’s degree in theater arts and will be awarded an honorary degree during this year’s Commencement. Professor Rose will interview Ms. Ross and Vice Provost for the Arts Michael Steinberg will introduce the forum.
Salomon Center for Teaching, DeCiccio Family Auditorium, Room 101 (F5)
Sponsored by the Theater Arts and Performance Studies Department, Brown Arts Initiative and CSREA


Brown University: 250 Years in a Strange Place
Gordon Wood, professor emeritus, history
The final lecture in the series “1764: Brown’s Founding in a Global Context” brings Professor Wood to campus to discuss the origins of Brown University and the peculiar nature of the colony and state of Rhode Island, where it was created and thrived. 
Building for Environmental Research & Teaching, Carmichael Auditorium, 85 Waterman St.
Co-sponsored by the John Carter Brown Library, the Department of History, and the Watson Institute.


Brown Alumni: Changing the World with Innovative Ventures
Moderator: Vicki L. Colvin, Provost; professor of chemistry and engineering
Panelists: Kirsten Saenz Tobey ’00, founder and chief impact officer, Revolution Foods • Andrew L. Shapiro ’90, founder and partner, Broadscale Group • Adam Seifer ’90, co-founder, co-chief executive officer, • Adam Vitarello ’05, co-founder and president, Optoro
Whether it’s offering transparent financial tools, better access to healthy food, or creating new environmental and healthcare ventures, Brown alumni are changing the world and how we interact within it. Hear from innovative alumni in this engaging discussion about how  companies can make an impact in a dynamic, competitive, global marketplace. 
Perry and Marty Granoff Center for the Creative Arts, Martinos Auditorium, 154 Angell St.
Sponsored by the Office of Alumni Relations.

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12:30 Pm

50 Years of Great Science in Barus and Holley
Leon Cooper, director, Institute for Brain and Neural Systems; Thomas J. Watson, Sr. Professor of Science • Rod Clifton, University Professor emeritus; research professor, engineering • Meenakshi Narain, professor, physics
Barus & Holley was dedicated in June of 1965. Over the past 50 years, it has been a home to great science and notable research accomplishments. Legendary professors, including Nobel Prize winners and National Academy members, have called it home for decades. Hear about the advances and changes in physics and engineering research over the past 50 years.
Metcalf Research Laboratory, Friedman Auditorium, Room 101, 190 Thayer Street

Waterloo 1815: The Image and the Battle
Peter Harrington, curator, Anne S. K. Brown Military Collection, University Library
In this bicentennial year of the iconic Battle of Waterloo, Peter Harrington will explore numerous artistic representations of the battle. Many have mythologized Waterloo, from Royal Academicians to amateur artists and veterans, by creating idealized images of the victory over Napoleon. The illustrated talk will include popular prints from the Anne S. K. Brown Military Collection and paintings from the European Collections. Following the talk, participants will be invited to view Waterloo 1815: A Bicentennial Exhibition, installed in the Hay’s exhibition gallery.
John Hay Library, Lownes Room, 20 Prospect St. 
Sponsored by the University Library

Maternal and Child Health: The Importance of a Great Start!
Panelists: Patrick Vivier, Royce Family Associate Professor Of Teaching Excellence; associate professor of health services, policy and practice; associate professor of pediatrics • Maureen Phipps, Chace - Joukowsky Professor Of Obstetrics And Gynecology; professor of epidemiology; assistant dean for teaching and research on women’s health; chair of obstetrics and gynecology • James Padbury, William And Mary Oh-William And Elsa Zopfi Professor Of Pediatrics For Perinatal Research; professor of pediatrics • Stephen Buka ’78, professor and founding chair of epidemiology; director of the Center for Population Health and Clinical Epidemiology 
Drawing on the distinct talents of the Brown University School of Public Health, Alpert Medical School, Hasbro Children’s Hospital, and Women & Infants Hospital, we seek to make Rhode Island the healthiest place in the world for children. This forum will highlight how knowledge of genetics, environmental exposures, and social experiences set the stage for health and development throughout the early life course. 
MacMillan Hall, Starr Auditorium, Room 117, 167 Thayer St. 


Giving New Life to Materials for Energy, the Environment, and Medicine
Maurice and Yetta Glicksman Forum
Angela Belcher, W.M. Keck Professor Of Energy; professor, Department of Material Science and Engineering and Department of Biological Engineering, MIT
Angela Belcher’s research uses genetically imprinted technology to design new methods for building batteries, fuel cells, solar cells, carbon sequestration and storage, enhanced oil recovery, catalysis, and medical diagnostics and imaging. In this talk, she will explore the conditions under which organisms first evolved to make materials. Additionally, she will discuss approaches to move beyond naturally evolved materials to genetically imprinted advanced technologies, such as those that appear in lithium-ion batteries, lithium-air batteries, dye-sensitive solar cells, and ovarian cancer imaging tools.
Building for Environmental Research & Teaching, Carmichael Auditorium, 85 Waterman St. 


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 3:30 Pm

The Genome Engineering Revolution: Birth of a Technology
The Frank and Joan Rothman Lecture
Jennifer Doudna, professor, biochemistry, biophysics, and structural biology, University of California, Berkeley; Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator
Dr. Jennifer Doudna is co-inventor of a revolutionary tool that can cut and splice DNA, called CRISPR-Cas9. Scientists are calling this powerful new technology for editing genes the “holy grail” of genetic engineering and a breakthrough in the fight against genetic disease. National Public Radio proclaimed Dr. Doudna a “rock star in the science world” and her work has been honored with numerous awards – most recently the 2014 Lurie Prize in Biomedical Sciences from the National Institutes of Health and the 2014 Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences. Learn about this groundbreaking discovery and its wide-ranging implications for the future of biology and medicine.
Building for Environmental Research & Teaching, Carmichael Auditorium, 85 Waterman St.
Sponsored by the Division of Biology and Medicine


Storytelling in a Changing Media Landscape
Panelists: Michael Costigan ’90, producer, Cota Films • Simon Kinberg '95, filmwriter/producer • Susan Margolin ’85, president, docurama and special acquisitions, Cinedigm • Holly Sklar ’85, story analyst, Warner Brothers Pictures Entertainment
The rules of storytelling are up for grabs. As new technologies allow audiences to consume and interact with content across a variety of mediums, how are story makers adjusting and expanding their narrative universes across multiple platforms? Hear different perspectives  from directors, producers, writers and creators about adapting (or not) their narratives and business models across multiple platforms.
Perry and Marty Granoff Center for the Creative Arts, Martinos Auditorium, 154 Angell St. 


The Dyslexic Brain Kicks Ass and Other Tales
Moderator: Cathie Axe ’87, director of Student And Employee Accessibility Services
Panelists: David Cole ’00, artist • Jonathan Mooney ’00, author and advocate • Eli Wolff ’00, advocate and advisor
In celebration of Brown’s 250th Anniversary, the Office of Student and Employee Accessibility Services (SEAS), which coordinates and facilitates services for students, faculty, staff and visitors with physical, psychological, and learning disabilities, will host an engaging conversation moderated by Cathie Axe ’87, director of SEAS. Panelists will discuss their own experiences at Brown and, more broadly, the changing landscape of accessibility services. In conjunction with the forum, SEAS will exhibit research highlighting the history of accessibility at Brown.
Metcalf Research Library, Friedman Auditorium, Room 101, 190 Thayer St.


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