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Chancellor’s Distinguished Lecture Series Starts Feb. 3 at UC Riverside

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Chancellor’s Distinguished Lecture Series Starts Feb. 3 at UC Riverside
New Event to Include Robert Pinsky, Anthony Leggett and Mary Robinson
(January 28, 2005)

RIVERSIDE, Calif. ( — A poet laureate, a Nobel Prize recipient in physics and the first woman President of Ireland will be featured in the inaugural Chancellor’s Distinguished Lecture Series at the University of California, Riverside in 2005.

The lecture series, which will be open to the public free of charge, will kick off at 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 3, with a poetry reading and presentation by Robert Pinsky, Poet Laureate of the United States between 1997 and 2000 and a contributor to the PBS program The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer.

The lecture, titled “Imagining Poetry in a Digital Age,” is free and open to the public, and will be held in University Theatre. It will be followed by a faculty panel discussion featuring Maurya Simon, associate dean and professor of creative writing; Juan F. Herrera, professor of creative writing; and Toby Miller, professor of English, sociology and women’s studies.

Additional faculty panels will be assembled for the two later lectures. A lecture by Anthony J. Leggett, winner of the 2003 Nobel Prize in Physics for his pioneering work on superfluidity, is scheduled for Wednesday, March 2. Mary Robinson, who served seven years as President of Ireland and later as United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, will speak on Friday, April 1.

Sponsored by the Office of the Chancellor, the distinguished lecture series will become an annual event featuring personalities from the letters, the sciences, the arts and other sectors of society. It was conceived to stimulate the region’s intellectual community, to inspire students to think beyond the lecture hall and lab, and to involve members of the community in the academic life of the UCR campus. The theme this year is, “Imagining the Future.”

“We are fortunate to attract three such remarkable individuals to UCR,” said Chancellor France A. Córdova. “Our goal is for the community at large to join our faculty, students, and staff in this opportunity to gain new insights into the worlds of poetry, physics, and politics through the eyes of these world-renowned experts.”

In addition to formal public presentations, each visit by a distinguished lecturer will include associated events, such as seminars with undergraduate and graduate students and visits with faculty.

Robert Pinsky served as the 39th Poet Laureate of the United States, completing a three-year term in April, 2000. He currently teaches at Boston University and is poetry editor of the online journal Slate. Pinsky’s most recent collection of poetry, Jersey Rain, was published in April 2000. An earlier work, The Figured Wheel: New and Collected Poems 1966-1996, was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in poetry and received the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize and the Ambassador Book Award of the English Speaking Union. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts with his wife, Dr. Ellen Pinsky.

Anthony J. Leggett received the 2003 Nobel Prize in Physics for his pioneering work on superfluidity. He is currently the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Chair and Center for Advanced Study Professor of Physics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He has been on the faculty in Illinois since 1983. He is widely recognized as a world leader in the theory of low-temperature physics. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Philosophical Society and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, among many other honors.

Mary Robinson, the first woman President of Ireland and more recently United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, has spent most of her life as a human rights advocate. An attorney and law professor at Trinity College, Dublin, she currently chairs the Council of Women World Leaders and is a member of the Global Commission on International Migration. As Ireland’s President between 1990 and 1997, she earned a 93 percent approval rating from the Irish people for her integrity and compassion towards people who needed help, and for her ability to treat people on all sides of an issue with respect. Now based in New York, Robinson is leading the Ethical Globalization Initiative, affiliated with Columbia University. She has won many awards, and holds honorary doctorates from over 40 universities around the world.

Robert Pinsky, former Poet Laureate

Photo Caption: Robert Pinsky, former Poet Laureate
Anthony Leggett, Nobel Prize winner

Photo Caption: Anthony Leggett, Nobel Prize winner
Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland

Photo Caption: Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland
The University of California, Riverside is a major research institution and a national center for the humanities. Key areas of research include nanotechnology, genomics, environmental studies, digital arts and sustainable growth and development. With a current undergraduate and graduate enrollment of nearly 17,000, the campus is projected to grow to 21,000 students by 2010. Located in the heart of inland Southern California, the nearly 1,200-acre, park-like campus is at the center of the region's economic development. Visit or call 951-UCR-NEWS for more information. Media sources are available at