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Preview/Review (Mar 10 to Mar. 30)

A preview and review of some fun and informative U events and lectures occurring through Mar 30

Compiled by Adam Overland


March 8, 2011

More than tweets the eye
President Robert Bruininks gave his ninth and final State of the University address on March 3. UFacultyStaff Twitter live-tweeted the speech, and the following is a sampling of highlights (in 140 characters or less, of course). The full text of the address is available online.

Note on "#UMN": The # symbol, called a hashtag, is used to mark keywords or topics in a Tweet. It was created as a way to categorize messages—in this case, followers searching for #UMN were able to follow all tweets containing that tag.

#UMN must work more closely with MnSCU. That partnership has been growing. From more than 60 academic partnerships to 200 in last 10 years

#UMN "the U brings an estimated $8.6 billion economic impact to the state each year—not bad for a $591 million state investment."

#UMN Mentioning U state impact report

#UMN "U grads, regardless of where they came from, often choose to live, work, and raise families in Minnesota."

#UMN each year the U welcomes 68,000 students, including 2,000 transfers, as well as 14,000 degrees. Admit same % of MN high school grads

#UMN the average net price MN's undergrads pay to attend TC campus has increased less than 3.5% per year over past 10 years.

#UMN rising costs for higher ed in general have caused us to increase tuition, but need-based scholarships have outpaced that.

#UMN have created more than $340 million in scholarship commitments in just six years.

#UMN Quote FDR: "We have always held to the hope, the belief, the conviction that there is a better life, a better world, beyond the horizon…"

#UMN The U must seek that horizon.

Swimming in the Daylight: A conversation with author Lisa Paul. Mar. 10, noon–2 p.m., 609 Social Swimming in the Daylight 300Sciences. Lisa Paul was a Russian studies major at the U when she became a nanny for an American family in Moscow in 1983. Her Russian language tutor, Inna Meiman, had cancer and was repeatedly denied an exit visa by the Soviet government because her husband, Naum Meiman, was a member of the lone human rights watchdog group in the Soviet Union. When Paul returned to the U.S. she conducted a 25-day hunger strike in December 1985 and January 1986 to draw attention to the plight of her "refusenik" friend. It worked: Meiman was interviewed on CBS News, and Paul’s hunger strike not only made news across Minnesota, but also ended with a press conference at the U.S. Capitol.

Following the conversation with Paul, the Human Rights Program and the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies will announce the winner of The Inna Meiman Human Rights Award recognizing students at the U who have made significant personal contributions in the promotion and protection of human rights.

Girlfriends Night Out & Expo at the Arboretum. Mar. 11, 5–8 p.m., U of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. The U's Landscape Arboretum is hosting a special evening featuring entertainment by singer-songwriter Carol Zimmerman (acoustic guitar), in addition to gardening advice, demos on time management and relaxation, guided tours, plus a boutique of home decor ideas, jewelry, giftware, and more from local artisans and businesses. Boys are welcome, too. Admission is $25 per person and includes a ticket for a glass of wine or apple cider.

Lifelong Housing Design forum: Options and costs for upgrading your home. Mar. 14, 9:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m., Goldstein Museum of Design, McNeal Hall. Free. As far as I can infer from the following teaser, the target audience for the Goldstein's Housing Design forum is evidently the aging baby boomer:

"Jim and Maria, a fictional couple in their mid 60s, want to refurbish their 1960s home so they can continue to enjoy their active, engaged lifestyle into their 80s. What can they do? The U's Goldstein Museum is displaying their refurbished Smart House for visitors to tour."

That's fine and dandy, but what about us 30-somethings whose houses are, well…dumb?

Never fear! We can join our elders in this forum, where a museum curator will narrate a one-hour, hands-on tour of the house. An interactive exhibit will show options for retrofitting existing entrances to homes. Presentations will address ways to upgrade a home to meet evolving needs, the costs of these remodels, and suggestions on how to get started.

Ghost Bird Screening. Mar. 17, 7 p.m., Bell Museum Auditorium. Cost: $0-8 (free with student ID). Ghost Dog was a 1999 movie starring Forest Whitaker as a samurai hitman in the employ of the Mafia who communicates only by homing pigeon. So far as I could tell, it had nothing to do with dogs, and very little to do with birds.

Ghost Bird, on the other hand, really does star a bird—an extinct giant woodpecker, to be precise. Whether it's extinct or not, the bird changed a small town in Arkansas, and has come to perch on the shoulder of Bigfoot in elusive creature lore. A panel discussion will follow screening. The online trailer will tell you more.

The visionary screening is part of the Sustainability Film Series 2011, which features local premieres of documentary films that explore sustainability, followed by panel discussions with leading academics, community leaders, and citizens who present and exchange ideas and views on current and local trends in sustainability.

Dr. John Najarian, LearningLife Forum. Mar. 17, 7–8:30 p.m., Continuing Education and Conference Center. Cost: $15. The legend of St. Patrick goes that he drove the snakes from Ireland. The most vicious of snakebites can cause death from organ failure. John Najarian is capable of transplanting organs. This St. Patrick's Day, the legendary transplant surgeon will one-up St. Patrick in a talk about his life-saving work and his founding of the U's organ transplant program—one of the world's largest.

Najarian has received many national and international honors for his work over the years. In 1987, he became an honorary fellow in the Royal College of Surgeons of England, a distinction shared by only a few surgeons throughout the world. In 1998, he was elected to the presidency of the American Surgical Association. He served as president and vice president of the International Transplantation Society, as well as president of the International Pediatric Transplant Association. In 2003, Najarian received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the University of Minnesota Medical School’s Department of Surgery on the 40th anniversary of its transplantation program. He received the 2004 Medawar Prize, awarded by the International Society of Transplantation and widely deemed the world’s preeminent award for outstanding achievements in organ transplantation.

Gourmet Beer Dinner. Mar. 18, 6:30 p.m., U of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. $60 for Arboretum members; $65 for non-members. Menu: First course—Beer cheese soup served with Schell's Stag Smoke; second course—smoked duck breast, bibb lettuce, feta cheese, candied almonds and tangy cherry vinaigrette, paired with Schell's Bavarian Pilsner; third course—braised short ribs, boursin whipped potatoes and roasted carrots, served with Schell's London Style Sweet Stout; fourth course—chocolate lava cake with creme anglaise, served with Schell's Snowstorm. If you aren't convinced yet, I don't know what to tell you. 

Meet Matthew Inman, creator of The Oatmeal. Mar. 21, 4–5 p.m., U Bookstore, Coffman Union. Free. You may not be able to judge a book by its cover, but how can you possibly ignore a book titled, 5 Very Good Reasons to Punch a Dolphin in the Mouth?Dolphin book cover165

Inman, creator of The Oatmeal entertainment website, will discuss his book and his unabashed web phenomenon, which receives more than 20 million page views per month. Learn handy advice from Inman such as four reasons to carry a shovel at all times, six types of crappy hugs, 20 things worth knowing about beer, and more.

Brand Aid: Shopping Well to Save the World. Mar. 21, 4–5:30 p.m., 125 BrandAid 165Nolte. Free and open to the public. “Has there ever been a better reason to shop?” asks an ad for the Product RED American Express card, telling members who use the card that buying “cappuccinos or cashmere” will help to fight AIDS in Africa. Cofounded in 2006 by the rock star Bono, Product RED has been a particularly successful example of a new trend in celebrity-driven international aid and development, one explicitly linked to commerce, not philanthropy. In Brand Aid: Shopping Well to Save the World (University of Minnesota Press, March 2011), Lisa Ann Richey and Stefano Ponte offer a deeply informed and stinging critique of “compassionate consumption.”

The book examines the rise of a new modality of development financing: celebrities asking consumers to 'do good' by buying particular brands to solve a development problem.

Kermit Olson Memorial Lecture 2011: Marla Spivak, "Socialized Medicine in Bee Colonies." Mar. 30, 4–6 p.m., 135 Continuing Education and Conference Center, St. Paul. Free. Evidently, bees are socialists, at least when it comes to health care. Recent MacArthur Foundation "Genius Grant" award winner and U entomologist Marla Spivak will explain at this year's Kermit A. Olson Memorial Lecture, which features an annual lecture by an outstanding horticulturist or landscape architect.

Find more Twin Cities events using the U's events calendar.

University events and lectures preview/review is a periodic column (about every two weeks) highlighting events and lectures recently past and soon-to-come on the UMTC campus. Faculty and staff are invited to contribute. Review submissions should be no more than 500 words, previews 200 or fewer. Both are subject to review by the Brief editor.