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Released July 24, 2003


HATTIESBURG - A renowned authority on the ethics of human cloning will kick off The University of Southern Mississippi's popular University Forum fall 2003 lecture series, the first of five presentations on a variety of topics.

Dr. Gregory Pence will present "Who's Afraid of Human Cloning?" at 7 p.m. Sept. 9 at Bennett Auditorium on the university's Hattiesburg campus. Pence is a medical ethicist in the University of Alabama at Birmingham's School of Medicine and Department of Philosophy, where he has been a member of the faculty for more than 25 years.

Dr. Pence teaches courses in philosophy and medical ethics and has received his university's highest teaching award, the Ingalls Award. He has published numerous books, including "Who's Afraid of Human Cloning?" (1997) and "Brave New Bioethics" (2003). An outspoken commentator on the ethics of cloning, Dr. Pence was one of only a few bioethicists in the country to oppose President Bill Clinton's ban on human cloning. He has testified on cloning before the House of Representatives and has published articles in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and other well-known media outlets. Dr. Pence is a graduate of the College of William and Mary and New York University, where he received his doctorate in 1974.

"The University Forum this fall will host a range of exceptional speakers, all of whom will address timely subjects," said Dr. Amy Chasteen Miller, director of University Forum. "The lectures will cover topics as diverse as the ethics of cloning, human rights today, and the role of stress in human health. I'm very pleased with the outstanding quality of speakers lined up for this fall, and I hope that the university and local community will come and take advantage of the opportunity to hear these people speak."

Dr. Miller will serve as University Forum director until the middle of the fall semester, and then turn over director duties to Southern Miss history professor Dr. Andrew Wiest.

Other University Forum presentations to follow include:

Sept. 16: Shapiro & Smith Dance, "Where Do Ideas Come From?" Shapiro and Smith Dance was established in 1987 and has enjoyed enthusiastic receptions for performances and residencies across the United States, in Europe, Asia, and Canada. Presented by major festivals and venues, including The Joyce Theater, Lincoln Center Out-Of-Doors, Britt Festivals, Festival di Milano, the Korean International Festival and the RuhrFestSpiele, the company has garnered praise from critics and audiences alike. Shapiro and Smith's work has been commissioned by companies as diverse as the Alvin Ailey American Dance theater; the Alvin Ailey Repertory Ensemble; Phoenix Dance Company of Leeds, UK; Diversions Dance Company of Cardiff, Wales; and the PACT Dance Company in Pretoria, South Africa. Shapiro and Smith have built international reputations as teachers. They have taught their unique blend of dance and athleticism at major international festivals and set repertory for 50 college and university dance programs throughout the United States.

Oct. 14: Dr. William Schulz, "Terror, Torment, and Tyranny: The State of Human Rights Today." Dr. Schulz has served as executive director of Amnesty International (USA) since March 1994. He came to Amnesty after serving for 15 years with the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations, where he was involved in a wide variety of international and social justice causes. He has served on the boards of People for the American Way, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, among others. He is currently a member of the International Advisory Committee for the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award. His most recent book, In Our Own Best Interests: How Defending Human Rights Benefits Us All, argues that human rights ought to be worthy of support because they are both morally compelling and in our best interests from the point of view of national security and economic growth. He has appeared frequently on radio and television, including "20/20," "Good Morning America," "Politically Incorrect," and "Larry King Live." Dr. Schultz is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Oberlin College, holds a master's degree in philosophy from the University of Chicago, and a doctor of ministry degree from Meadville/Lombard Theological School at the University of Chicago.

Oct. 21: Dr. Rita Colwell, "Meeting Society's Needs: Science in a New Era." Rita Colwell is the director of the National Science Foundation. She has spearheaded the agency's emphases in K-12 science and mathematics education, graduate science and engineering education/training, and the increased participation of women and minorities in science and engineering. Under her leadership, the foundation has received significant budget increases, and its funding recently reached a level of more than $4.8 billion. Dr. Colwell has held many advisory positions at the federal government level, with nonprofit science policy organizations and private foundations as well as in the international scientific research community. She is a nationally respected scientist and educator and has authored or co-authored 16 books and more than 600 scientific publications. She produced the award-winning film "Invisible Seas" and has served on editorial boards of numerous scientific journals. Dr. Colwell holds a bachelor's degree in bacteriology and a master's degree in genetics from Purdue University, and a doctorate in oceanography from the University of Washington.

Nov. 11: Dr. Robert Sapolsky, "Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers: Stress, Disease and Coping." Dr. Sapolsky has been called "one of the best scientist-writers of our time." Born in 1957, Dr. Sapolsky is a MacArthur "Genius" Fellow, a professor of biology and neurology at Stanford University, and a research associate with the Institute of Primate Research, National Museums of Kenya. His engaging and lively speaking and writing styles have led The New York Times to write, "If you crossed Jane Goodall with a borscht belt comedian, she might have written a book like A Primate's Memoir: A Neuroscientist's Unconventional Life Among the Baboons." As a boy in New York City, Sapolsky wanted to live in one of the dioramas at the Museum of Natural History. One week after graduating from Harvard in the mid-1970s, he got his chance: He went to Kenya to study the social behavior in baboons. This research culminated in his award-winning book. He also is the author of Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers, which explores stress and the origins of stress-related diseases. Dr. Sapolsky's articles have appeared in numerous publications, including Discover and The New Yorker.

The University Forum is a special series of lectures and programs open without charge to all students, faculty, staff and area residents. It is sponsored each fall and spring by the Southern Miss Honors College. All programs are scheduled for 7 p.m. on Tuesday evenings in Bennett Auditorium. For more information, call (601) 266-5762.



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August 18, 2003 2:51 PM