By Joe Horenkamp, University Communications
This year’s convocation series, appropriately named Origins, has wrapped up. Dr. Roger Young, convocation director, spoke with me about the creation of the convocation series and its implications on Drury.
According to Young, the theme of Origins came about in the summer of 2000. During a faculty meeting, the idea for Origins was posed. Young added, “And we thought, wouldn’t it be a great idea if we could have a theme per year, so we could base some of the more variable aspects of the curriculum, including convo, on a particular theme.” After several meetings, the Origins theme was introduced.
After the Origins series was created, speakers were sought to fit within this new framework. Unlike convocation series in the past, this year’s series actually has a specific focus, “but it’s a pretty flexible theme, origins of art, or origins of music, or origins of anything,” Young said.
The year started with The Rite of Spring performance in early September. The Chamber Orchestra of the Ozarks performed this Stravinsky masterpiece and, in turn, exemplified the origins of music. Guy Raymond of Franklin Quest Co., spoke on September 13 about time management. The first movie night followed this with 2001: A Space Odyssey.
On October 4, James Burke spoke about the linking of seemingly random events and how they reflect scientific, technological and historical progress. Benjamin Jacobs followed this with his “origins of evil” presentation. Jacobs was forced to pluck gold teeth from dead bodies while in the concentration camp at Auschwitz. Bestselling nonfiction author, Erich von Däniken spoke November 1 reflecting the origns of human existence. Katy Siegel followed this with information about the origins of art. The second movie night was Saving Private Ryan, and this was appropriately followed by Bill Cantrell’s convo honoring veterans on November 15.
The new semester continued the powerful presentations. Convo speakers include television and film director Regge Life, tobacco educator and inspiration of the film The Insider Jeffrey Wigand, author and scientist Brian Greene and biologist and language evolution researcher Terrence Deacon.
Many of the convo sessions were recorded. Archived audio files can be accessed on Drury’s convo speakers Web page.
These days Dr. Young is working hard to dispel Drury students’ preconceptions about convo in past years. He said, “I think convos have had a bit of a bad rap in the past and it’s hard to shake that image. It will certainly take a year or two to shake the image of convo being something boring to go to.”
See Drury’s convo speakers Web site for additional information and to listen live.