Tuesday April 3, 2012

A Force of Nature

Renowned environmentalist David Suzuki champions a greener globe. He headlines this year's Stander Symposium.

David Suzuki, a pioneering environmentalist and host of the internationally syndicated Canadian television show The Nature of Things, will keynote the annual Brother Joseph W. Stander Symposium at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, April 16, in the RecPlex at the University of Dayton.

His talk, "The Challenge of the 21st Century: Setting the Real Bottom Line," is free and open to the public. The address rounds out the 2011-2012 University of Dayton Speaker Series and is the major public lecture at an annual campus symposium that celebrates undergraduate research and creativity. Parking is available in C lot.

"David Suzuki is one of our world's most important and recognized scientists, educators and activists working for sustainable ecology," said Sheila Hassell Hughes, director of the speaker series and chair of the English department.

"He is a passionate and gifted communicator whose mission is to 'protect the diversity of nature and our quality of life, now and for the future.' Suzuki's work with students, scientists, policymakers, activists and indigenous communities has had a profound impact in his native Canada and around the world," she said. 

A geneticist who is recognized as a world leader in sustainable ecology, Suzuki is known for his radio and television programs that explain the complexities of the natural sciences in a compelling, easily understood way. The 2010 documentary, Force of Nature: The David Suzuki Movie, traces his life's journey. ArtStreet offered a special viewing of the documentary on campus March 30.

Suzuki has written 52 books, including 19 for children. His 1976 textbook, An Introduction to Genetic Analysis (with A.J.F. Griffiths), remains the most widely used genetics text book in the U.S. and has been translated into Italian, Spanish, Greek, Indonesian, Arabic, French and German.

Born into a Japanese-Canadian family, Suzuki was interned in a Japanese-Canadian camp during World War II. "The results of the war left me with a lifelong knee-jerk aversion to any hint of bigotry or discrimination and a passion for civil rights," he wrote.

His other passion? Nature. He co-founded the David Suzuki Foundation, which focuses on preserving the environment and protecting health.

Suzuki has received international recognition and numerous awards, including 25 honorary degrees. He received UNESCO's Kalinga Prize for Science; the Global 500 Award from the United Nations Environmental Program; the Right Livelihood Award, which is considered the "Alternative Nobel Prize;" and others.

The Stander Symposium is packed with events and presentations — ranging from poster sessions, panel discussions, performances and artistic displays — over three days. Besides Suzuki's keynote address, other highlights include:

• 12:05 p.m., Monday, April 16, Mass of the Holy Spirit (Red Mass), Immaculate Conception Chapel on campus.

• 8 p.m., Tuesday, April 17, Celebration of the Arts at the Schuster Center, One West Second Street. Free but tickets required. Call 937-229-2545 or order online.

• 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Wednesday, April 18, Day at the Stander (showcase of student research and creativity), various locations around campus.

• 5-7 p.m., Wednesday, April 18, Celebration of the Arts Closing Visual Arts Exhibition and Reception, Gallery 249 in the College Park Center on campus.

Co-sponsors for the University of Dayton Speaker Series include the Dayton Daily News, WDTN-TV, WDAO-Radio, National Conference for Community and Justice (NCCJ), YWCA Dayton, Ross Buick-GMC-Hummer, University of Dayton's Media Production Group and Markey's Audio Visual.

For more information, contact Andrea Wade at 937-229-1723.