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Distinguished Lecture Series Starts Feb. 3

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

Robert Pinsky, former Poet Laureate

Anthony Leggett, Nobel Prize winner

Anthony Leggett, Nobel Prize winner

Mary Robinson, former President of IrelandEnlarge

Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland

The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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