Throughout the year, noteworthy speakers flock to WashU to appear in our many memorial and distinguished lecture series, addressing topics across Arts & Sciences. These lectures allow us to broaden the conversation at the university by interjecting new ideas and research into our halls and classrooms. However, it can sometimes be hard to keep them all straight! Below is an overview of some of the many memorial lecture series taking place this fall.
The Annual William H. Matheson Lecture
This series is given in honor of the late Professor Matheson, who was a venerable member of comparative literature for 30 years. Each year, the lecture is a highlight of the comparative literature program’s academic events. In addition to the lecture, visiting scholars hold workshops and other meetings with students.
This year’s lecture is part of the annual William H. Gass Symposium.
Past Speakers: Johanna Drucker, 2015; Shu-mei Shih, 2014; Gerald Prince, 2013
This year: Susan Bernofsky, September 23
The Weissman Lecture Series
This chemistry department hosted lecture honors Professor Samuel I. Weissman, who was a Washington University faculty member from 1946 until his death in 2007. In his time at WashU, he researched a number of areas including optical spectroscopy, which became the new field of magnetic resonance. In this area, he was a renowned pioneer and world-class expert. His groundbreaking studies were initially carried out using home-built spectrometers. A scientist to the core, Weissman did creative research until virtually his last days at the age of 95.
Past Speakers: W.E. Moerner, 2015; Chung-Yuan Mou, 2014; James Norris, 2013
This year: Michael Turner, October 6 & 7
James E. McLeod Memorial Lecture on Higher Education
Founded by the Center for the Humanities in honor of the esteemed vice chancellor of students who passed away in 2011, the series focuses on the role of the liberal arts in higher education, a subject especially meaningful to Dean McLeod. Speakers include academics and journalists who have written about the liberal arts and higher education, both positively and critically, as well as noted people who talk about how the liberal arts affected their lives and their career choices.
Past Speakers: Rebecca Ginsburg, 2015; Roderick A. Ferguson, 2014; Ruth J. Simmons, 2013
This year: Christopher Newfield, October 25
Holocaust Memorial Lecture
The Holocaust Memorial Lecture is an annual event that is administered by the university’s Assembly Series. Held on or near November 9, the anniversary of the Kristallnacht pogroms in Nazi Germany, the lecture aims not only to commemorate the Holocaust, but also to address its broader implications for other instances of systematic persecution, mass murder, and genocide.
Past Speakers: Jay Winter, 2015; David Shneer, 2014; Sarah Wagner, 2013
This year: Doris Bergen, November 2
Thomas S. Hall Lecture in Biology
The Hall Lecture Series was inaugurated in 1978 to honor Thomas Steele Hall, a member of the biology department from 1945 until his retirement in 1978; and Distinguished University Professor until his death in 1990. From 1949-61 he served as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. Although trained as an experimental embryologist at Yale in the late 1930s, Hall devoted most of his academic career to the history and philosophy of science. In keeping with the broad range of interests and leadership provided by Tom Hall during his academic career, this lecture series offers a forum for exchange of ideas on the broad historical and cultural relationships between science (including medicine), philosophy, the arts and society.
Past Speakers: Elisabeth Lloyd, 2015; Brian Hall, 2013
This year: Gregory Radick, November 7
Robert M. Walker Distinguished Lecture Series
The McDonnell Center for the Space Sciences sponsors the lecture series in memory of Robert M. Walker, the center’s inaugural director from 1975-1999. Walker was a pioneering physicist who played a decisive role in shaping research in the space sciences, not only at the University but also worldwide.
Past Speakers: Edward C. Stone, 2015; Ramesh Narayan, 2014; Shrinivas Kulkarni, 2013
This year: Gabriella Gonzalez, November 17
Nelson I. Wu Memorial Lecture on Asian Art and Culture
Nelson Wu was an internationally known scholar and advocate of Asian art and architecture who taught at WashU for nearly 20 years. He is also known by his pen name, Lu Chiao, for his magical short stories and fiction. Co-sponsored by East Asian languages and cultures and the Saint Louis Art Museum, this series offers a talk each fall by an internationally renowned specialist in the field, as well as related events and activities at both the museum and the university. All events are free and open to the public.
Past Speakers: Alfreda Murck, 2015; Matthew McKelway, 2014; Robert Linrothe, 2013
This year: Gennifer Weisenfeld, December 2
Thomas Lamb Eliot Lecture
This new lecture series is named for a member of the first class (1862) of Washington University in St. Louis. Eliot, the son of the university’s founder, William Greenleaf Eliot, graduated from Harvard Divinity School in 1865 and entered the Unitarian ministry. He went on to become a major religious and civic leader in Portland, Oregon, and played a pivotal role in the founding of Reed College. The lecture is intended to focus attention on the religious and political worlds out of which Washington University emerged, while at the same time reaching well beyond that immediate educational and institutional setting to explore the broad cultural, intellectual, and political frames of Eliot’s cosmopolitan faith.
This year: David M. Robinson, December 7