Distinguished Faculty Lecture Series Announced for 1999-2000 by UMass Amherst

AMHERST, Mass. - The University of Massachusetts has announced its 1999-2000 Distinguished Faculty Lecture Series. All lectures are at 4 p.m. in Memorial Hall, and are free and open to the public.

The participants in this year’s series and the dates of their lectures are:

* Ervin Staub, professor of psychology, Tues. Oct. 26;

* Robert C. Sleigh Jr., professor of philosophy, Tues. Nov. 30;

* Lila M. Gierasch, professor of chemistry, Wed. Feb. 23;

* Anna Nagurney, professor of finance and operations management, Wed. April 5.

A reception follows each talk. All faculty members in the series receive a Chancellor’s Medal following their lectures. The Chancellor’s Medal is the highest honor bestowed on individuals for exemplary and extraordinary service to the University.

Faculty Profiles

Ervin Staub is an internationally known scholar who studies good and evil in human behavior. Among the subjects of Staub’s research are: the development of helping and altruism; passivity in the face of others’ needs; the origins of human destructiveness; genocide; and youth violence. The title of Staub’s lecture is "Bystanders: Genocide, Youth Violence, and the Creation of Caring." He is the author of "The Roots of Evil: The Origins of Genocide and Other Group Violence," which was the inspiration for a 1998 television series shown on the Discovery Channel and the BBC. Staub created a training program following the Rodney King incident in Los Angeles for all police officers in California to reduce the use of unnecessary force. He is currently working on a project in Rwanda on healing, forgiveness, and reconciliation supported by a grant from the John Templeton Foundation. Staub is currently writing a book about raising caring and nonviolent children. He joined the University in 1971.

Robert C. Sleigh Jr., has taught in the philosophy department at the University for 30 years. Since 1972, the major focus of his research has been the philosophy of the 17th century German thinker, G.W. Leibniz, whom many credit with having created calculus before Isaac Newton. Sleigh’s lecture will focus on two of Leibniz’s better- known doctrines: that this is the best possible world, and that there is nothing in it but the perceptions of the mind.

Sleigh has published a book on Leibniz, "Leibniz and Arnould: A Commentary on Their Correspondence" (Yale University Press, 1990), and numerous scholarly articles. He is editor of the Garland Reprint Series on Leibniz, and co-editor of the Yale Leibniz, a series of translations on Leibniz’s work. Sleigh also served twice as president of the North American Leibniz Society. His work has been supported by fellowships from the American Council for Learned Societies, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, and the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton University.

Lila Gierasch, a leading authority on protein chemistry, is head of the department of chemistry at UMass. Some of her work has focused on molecular "chaperones," a class of proteins that stabilize cells against stress. The title of her talk is, "The Unfolding Story of Protein Folding." Gierasch taught at Amherst College, the University of Delaware, and the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center before joining the UMass faculty in 1994. She completed her undergraduate work in chemistry at Mount Holyoke College, and earned her doctorate in biophysics from Harvard University. Among her many honors, Gierasch serves on the Mathematical and Physical Science Advisory Committee of the National Science Foundation, and on the National Advisory General Medical Sciences Council, to which she was named by Donna E. Shalala, U.S. secretary of health and human services. She was president of the 5,000-member Biophysical Society, a national organization, from 1995-96.

Anna Nagurney joined the University in 1985 and last year was appointed John F. Smith Memorial Professor in the department of finance and operations management at the Isenberg School of Management. Her lecture, titled "Networks for Fun and Profit," will explore the network structure of economic activity ranging from transportation and communications through finance. She has authored more than 50 journal articles, numerous book chapters, and five books. Throughout her career she has received national and international awards, including the Distinguished Chair Visiting Professorship at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden, and the International Kempe Prize in honor of Tord Palander (Sweden). Most recently she was chosen as an Eisenhower Fellow by the National Highway Institute, and in 1991 she received a Faculty Award for Women from the National Science Foundation to support her research for a five-year period. Nagurney received her doctorate, master’s, and bachelor’s degrees from Brown University.