The Colgate Scene
July 2004

New speakers series being launched

The Society of Families has launched a fundraising initiative to establish a biannual speakers' forum to bring leaders of international stature to Colgate. The Global Leaders Lecture Series will host prominent world figures such as heads of state, artists, philanthropists, chief executive officers, and others, to deliver public lectures and meet with the campus community in a variety of settings. The goal of the initiative is to create a $2 million endowment fund to support the Global Leaders series.

The idea for the Global Leaders series grew out of conversations among members of the Parents' Steering Committee, said committee co-chair William Strong P'04.

"We've worked very hard the past two years to have the Parents' Fund be a place where parents -- by their own actions and ideas -- can have a direct and significant influence on Colgate," said Strong, who also noted that efforts to reopen the Palace Theater and make improvements at the Wm. Brian Little Fitness Center originated among members of the Parents' Steering Committee.

The idea for the series was also raised during conversations among faculty and administrators as the university's new strategic plan was being drafted, Strong explained.

"One conversation was about trying to find new ways to connect our students to the major developments that are going on globally. We know that in the 21st century our students are going to have to be able to thrive in a global environment," said Dean of the College Adam Weinberg, who is leading the initial planning for the series. "Another was about the different ways that students and their professors can engage each other in discussions of important cultural movements, political issues, those sorts of things."

Tentative plans call for the Global Leaders series to be aligned with one of the institutes for advanced study that have been established, such as the Upstate Institute, and others that are being planned. A committee of faculty members and students will work through the particular institute to plan and coordinate events. Speakers for the Global Leaders series will interact with students in a range of programs connected through the Center for Leadership and Student Involvement and the Sophomore-Year Experience Arts of Democracy program.

Activities held in connection with the Global Leaders series could be widely varied, Weinberg said.

"Suppose that we were bringing someone like Nelson Mandela to campus. We might show movies about apartheid for two weeks before the lecture, present music at the Palace Theater, or serve South African cuisine in dining halls to raise awareness about the country's culture and history, as well as ask faculty members who are dealing with relevant topics to use South Africa for case studies," said Weinberg. "After the lecture, there would be time for reflection and debriefing, which might include a series of discussions and debates between different student groups, a campus-wide student/faculty forum, or other follow-up programs that encourage fun but serious conversation between different types of students around important public issues."

"We see this as a great way to enhance the Colgate brand," said Strong. "It will be a great experience for students and faculty members to see and meet some of today's most important world leaders."

Alumni are also welcome to contribute to this fund. For more information on the initiative, contact Mari Assaid, director of the Parents' Fund, at 315-228-7167, or by e-mail at

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