SPEAKERS AND CONVOCATIONS
Each year, each campus of Governor’s School invites distinguished academics and artists to speak to the student body. These speakers represent the most current work and debates in their arena of ideas. Governor’s School wants to challenge its students and provoke thoughtful conversation within the Governor’s School community.
Here is a sample of speakers from both campuses in recent years:
César Alvarez, Performer/Musician — "Hyper-Reality"
Mr. Alvarez offered the GSE student body an alternate view of music and art than that presented by the conventional media outlets. He juxtaposed his visual presentation with live and recorded music to create a true "hyper-reality" experience.
Paul Anderson, Associate Professor of Physics, Wake Forest University — "Exploring the Cosmos"
Dr. Anderson expanded the GSE students’ view of the world by asking them to imagine the entire cosmos. His presentation covered such questions as, How was the universe created? Is the universe expanding? How does it expand?
Mike Despines, Regional Director for International Rescue Committee — "The American Dream — The World’s Nightmare"
Mr. Despines awed the student body with staggering statistics, figures, and questions about the future of our environment and the role humans (especially Americans) in contributing to its decline. He emphasized the impact of exponential growth in population and consumption.
Patrick Dougherty, Installation Artist — "Primitive Ways in an Accelerated World"
Mr. Dougherty explored the relationship between the artist and the public. His presentation challenged students to think about the function of public space.
Stanley Hauerwas, Professor of Theological Ethics, Duke Divinity School — "A Pacifist Response"
Self-described as a "Christian Contrarian," Dr. Hauerwas generated a great deal of discussion among GSE students concerning the relationship between Christianity, Pacifism and the tragic events of September 11, 2001.
Charles Kimball, Department of Religion, Professor and Chair, Wake Forest University — "When Religion Becomes Evil"
Professor Kimball focused the attention of the GSE students on the question of why people commit evil acts in the name of religion. He introduced what he saw as warning signs that a religion was becoming evil and encouraged the students to apply his test to the current state of the world.
Matt Nisbet, Assistant Professor of Communication, American University—"Making Sense of Debates over Science and the Environment in the Media"
Dr. Nisbet presented his findings about the media’s framing of various controversial issues, from stem cell research to global warming, and discussed how these frames influence public opinion.
Carol Quinn, Assistant Professor, Center for Professional and Applied Ethics, University of North Carolina, Charlotte — "Race, Class, and Environmental Justice"
Dr. Quinn highlighted issues concerning environmental racism and its impact on the United States of America.
Tom Regan, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, North Carolina State University — "A Case for Animal Rights"
Professor Regan posed the question, "Do animals have rights?" From this starting point, he expanded the student’s understanding of the issue by logically laying out the possible basis for animal rights.
Svi Shapiro, Director of the PhD. Program in Curriculum and Teaching, University of North Carolina, Greensboro — "Schools and Culture"
Dr. Shapiro challenged the students to rethink the role of public schools. Are public schools really about academic excellence or are they more concerned with promoting ruthless competition, smugness, and conformism?
Tim Tyson, Writer and Historian, Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University—"Blood Done Sign My Name"
Mr. Tyson discussed the content of his historical memoir Blood Done Sign My Name and challenged students to think about the prevailing effects of white supremacy on today’s society.
Neal Weiner, Assistant Professor of Physics, New York University—"Dark Matter, Dark Energy, and the Fate of the Universe"
Dr. Weiner made physics accessible and fascinating to all GSW students by discussing theories of dark matter and dark energy, and how much we can know and measure about our universe.
James Wilson-Quayle, Professor of Political Science, George Washington University—"The American Economy and Liberty"
Professor Wilson-Quayle weaved together an intricate argument that questioned the ability of the United States to continue its impressive economic growth. What will the United States do to maintain its growth, turn to the forces of Globalization? Institute procedures to redistribute wealth? Simplify our lifestyles?