E-Portal Newsletter - October 2008

The e-Portal is one of the ways that A&S is participating in UofL's "green initiative." The monthly e-Portal replaces the "paper version" of The Portal newsletter, previously published twice a year by the college. In addition to being more environmentally friendly, The e-Portal provides more frequent opportunities to share news of the college.

October 2008 edition of the E-Portal


A&S Hall of Honor Inductees Recognized with Campus Display

In September 2008, students and faculty arriving on campus for the new academic year were greeted with a new addition to the campus landscape. Over the summer, the college installed a 16-ft. wide metallic display recognizing the Arts and Sciences Hall of Honor in a major  thoroughfare at the heart of Belknap Campus. Located in the central breezeway of the Life Sciences Building, the Hall of Honor display features a biographical plaque for each of the 20 inductees in the inaugural "Centennial Class" of the A&S Hall of Honor.

With noted authors, athletes, business leaders, educators, and politicians, the Hall of Honor display provides an inspirational reminder of the college's rich history and vast legacy of A&S alumni. Established during the college's Centennial celebration of 2007, the A&S Hall of Honor recognizes the A&S alumni, students, faculty, administrators, staff and other supporters who made the most significant and lasting contributions to the College, the University, the local community and the larger society since the establishment of the College in 1907.

The decision to install the display on the Life Sciences Building was a natural choice: the location has high visibility given its central location and the many students who pass the site each day. It was also the ideal location for the display given its proximity to the planned "Centennial Plaza and Hall of Honor," which involves a dramatic and expansive renovation of the courtyard area bounded by the Life Sciences Building and Davidson and Strickler halls just north of the quadrangle at the center of Belknap campus.

The project will transform a highly-traveled yet under-developed area of campus into a vibrant meeting place, rest stop and study area for students and faculty between classes. Dean Blaine Hudson said, "The plaza area will be a special place where the college can establish new traditions while also recognizing our rich history."

The centerpiece of Centennial Plaza will be a 5-ft. high black granite wall displaying biographies of each Hall of Honor inductee. The Hall of Honor inductee plaques now displayed on the Life Sciences Building will be moved to this permanent granite monument.

Initial design work and planning has been conducted, renderings have been drawn, and fundraising is underway. Hall of Honor inductees and family attended a ceremony to unveil renderings of the plaza design in November 2007.


While the Centennial brought 20 inductions to the Hall of Honor, the college plans to induct smaller groups of individuals in future years as an ongoing tradition. The next class of inductees will be announced in November 2008, and an induction ceremony will be held in spring 2009.

For photos of the plaque display and induction ceremony, and to read biographies of the Centennial class of inductees, visit the Hall of Honor.

2009 inductions to be announced in November 2008

The next class of A&S Hall of Honor inductees will be announced in November 2008, with an induction ceremony to be held in spring 2009. Watch for the November edition of the e-Portal for this announcement.


Harvard Divinity Professor, Harvey Cox, Delivers the 2008 Phi Beta Kappa Lecture

Divinity scholar Harvey Cox of Harvard University delivered the fourth annual Phi Beta Kappa lecture on October 7, 2008, speaking to a crowd of more than 250 in the Speed Art Museum. Dr. Cox's lecture, titled "After Fundamentalism: The Future of Religion in America and the World," was part of the Life of the Mind Series of public events established during the centennial of the UofL College of Arts and Sciences. Co-sponsors of Cox's lecture include the Speed Art Museum and the Phi Beta Kappa Association of Kentuckiana. President James Ramsey hosted a reception in the Speed Museum's Sculpture Court following Dr. Cox's lecture.

Dr. Cox discussed his view that fundamentalism within Christianity, Islam and Judaism is waning, despite publicity given to extreme groups' actions and approaches. He explained why he thinks fundamentalist groups will be unsuccessful in stopping a stronger global religious resurgence.

Harvey Cox is the Hollis professor of divinity at Harvard University, where he has worked since 1965. The professor's research and teaching center on the interaction of religion, culture and politics. His work explores issues including Jewish-Christian relations, global spiritual movements and theological developments in world Christianity.

His most recent book, "When Jesus Came to Harvard: Making Moral Choices Today," is one of many he has written since his book "The Secular City" became an international best-seller. Others include "Common Prayers: Faith, Family and a Christian's Journey Through the Jewish Year," "Many Mansions: A Christian's Encounters with Other Faiths" and "Fire From Heaven: The Rise of Pentecostal Spirituality and the Reshaping of Religion in the Twenty-first Century."

In conjunction with his visit, Dr. Cox appeared on Louisville public radio's "State of Affairs" program. To hear a recording of the show, visit the "State of Affairs" Archives at WFPL.org.

Link: WFPL October 7, 2008: "When Jesus Came to Harvard: A Conversation with Harvey Cox"


Islamic scholars from South Asia to visit through UofL program

Ten Islamic scholars from Pakistan, Bangladesh and India will visit Louisville and other U.S. cities this month through a UofL exchange program intended to promote peace-building among Muslims and Americans. The program titled "Religion and Society: A Dialogue" is funded by the U.S. State Department. Grant director Riffat Hassan, a UofL Humanities professor internationally known for Islamic studies and women's rights work, leads the exchanges and works with U.S. embassy officials and local partners to choose the participants.

The visitors' backgrounds range from journalism to psychology, history to philosophy, political science to community activism. During their Oct. 12-25 stay in the United States, they will go to New York City and Washington, D.C., as well as Louisville.

Kentucky activities will include dinner meetings with interfaith leaders, tours of UofL and the Abbey of Gethsemani, a forum on collaborative projects at the Muhammad Ali Center and an interfaith seminar at the Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary about Islam and issues related to war and peace in a polarized world. Participants also will meet with State Department officials.

In the other cities, the group will visit a synagogue and African American mosque, speak in a forum on peace-building in Islam and discuss Muslim-Christian-Jewish relations and peace efforts.

The "Religion and Society" effort is intended to expand Americans' understanding of the place of Islam in non-American societies; to enhance non-Americans' understanding of the place of religion, particularly Islam, in American life; and to examine the benefits of religious co-existence in an increasingly turbulent world.

The program builds on a previous State Department-funded program at UofL that focused on Islamic life in the United States. Organizers hope to work out more ongoing collaboration. A U.S. group will travel to the South Asian countries next year during the last exchange.


A&S to host African Philosophy Conference, October 31-November 1

The college will host a two-day conference titled Reason, Culture, and Humanism: The Philosophy of Kwasi Wiredu, focusing on the work and legacy of noted African philosopher Kwasi Wiredu, who also will speak at the free, public event. The Ghana-born Wiredu is now distinguished university professor emeritus of philosophy at University of South Florida-Tampa, where he has taught since 1987. Most sessions of the African philosophy conference will be held in Ekstrom Library's Chao Auditorium.

"Three Sources of African Thought" will be the keynote talk by Abiola Irele, Harvard University visiting professor of African and African American studies and Romance languages and literature, at 4:00 p.m. Oct. 31.  Lucius Outlaw, Vanderbilt University's African American studies director and philosophy professor, will discuss "Kwasi Wiredu's Personal and Philosophical Journeys" at 11:45 a.m. Nov. 1. Wiredu himself will share his "Philosophical Reminiscences" at 4 p.m. Nov. 1. All three of these talks will be held in Ekstrom Library's Chao Auditorium.

Co-sponsors of the conference include the departments of Philosophy and Pan-African Studies, the Commonwealth Center for the Humanities and Society, Office of the Vice-Provost for Diversity, and CODRE.

A&S News Briefs - News highlights from the three divisions of A&S


  • The interior architecture program in the Department of Fine Arts has received full accreditation by the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA). With this reaccreditation, our program remains one of only two interior design programs in Kentucky to be fully accredited.

Natural Sciences

  • The Department of Chemistry has been awarded a $956,000 grant from the Department of Energy for the "Acquisition of High Field Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectrometers for Research in Molecular Structure, Function and Dynamics." Principal investigator and chemistry department chair, Dr. George Pack noted, "The instrumentation will support departmental educational programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels. It will also add significant research capacity for faculty members whose work is supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation and the Department of Defense."

Social Sciences

  • Six graduate students from the Department of Pan-African Studies each wrote a chapter published in "Race, Gender and Crime: An Anthology," edited by Ray Von Robertson and published by Whittier Publications Inc. in 2008.