The series that brought Harvard University professor Steven Pinker last February is back with an expanded program for April and May. The Contemporary Speaker Series announced their three speakers for 2013 in a release today. Each speaker will discuss "the purpose and value of a university in the twenty-first century" as it relates to their chosen fields in a free lecture.
The opening lecture will be given by Wendy Kopp, founder and chair of the national board of Teach for America, and will focus on "education and leadership." Kopp will speak on Wednesday, April 17 in Leverone Hall.
"Kopp proposed Teach for America in her undergraduate thesis, and thus provides a frame to understand the possibilities of a college education," the release said.
On Tuesday, April 30, Google's Damon Horowitz, director of engineering and "in-house philosopher," will give the flagship lecture in Ryan Auditorium. Horowitz, who worked at social search engine Aardvark before Google acquired it in 2008, "will address whether disruptive technology and the Internet have altered the nature of the university," according to the release.
Additionally, Horowitz will hold a class with a limited number of undergraduates, graduate students and faculty.
Journalist George Saunders will close out the 2013 series with a lecture on the humanities together with with English assistant professor Nathan Hedman. The lecture, which is set for Monday, May 6, will be preceded by a reading from Saunders' most recent anthology, Tenth of December.
The Contemporary Thought Speaker Series was inspired by Emeritus Professor of Philosophy Baker Brownell (Class of 1910), who taught a speaker-based course called Contemporary Thought during the 20th century.
Students interested in attending any of the lectures will need to reserve a ticket through the Norris Box Office. Reservations for Kopp's lecture open on Thursday.