Sifting and Winnowing in New York City

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Meeting of the Minds sparks lively debate on pressing contemporary issues.

Doris Weisberg ’58; Chancellor Biddy Martin; panelists Joel Rogers, Tracey Holloway, Barry Burden, and Stephen Ward; and WAA President and CEO Paula Bonner.

From left are Doris Weisberg ’58; Chancellor Biddy Martin; panelists Joel Rogers, Tracey Holloway, Barry Burden, and Stephen Ward; and WAA President and CEO Paula Bonner. Photo: Bud Glick

The U.S. economy continues to struggle, the country is at war, and on some days, certain headlines in the Onion start to ring true.

Engaging in discourse around topics such as these is an everyday occurrence between UW professors and students, but what about professors and alumni? In September, Chancellor Biddy Martin PhD’85 decided to take the UW to alumni by leading a dynamic conversation at New York City’s Morgan Library & Museum as the first event of the ongoing Chancellor’s Series: Meeting of the Minds.

Martin moderated a panel with four UW-Madison faculty at the top of their fields to cut through the chatter and tackle the issues at the core of what it means to live in a democracy in 2010. The panel addressed issues relating to the intersection of politics, the environment, the economy, and the media.

“The sifting-and-winnowing component of the evening got going in earnest when the audience offered questions and comments,” says Robert Beecher ’69. “How many attendees were transported back to the days — now long ago for some of us — when this type of challenging discourse was routine? It was the perfect synthesis of academia and world issues.”

Future cities and dates for subsequent Meeting of the Minds panels will be announced soon. To learn more about the series and see photos and video from the New York event, visit http://www.chancellor.wisc.edu/meeting-of-the-minds/.

Published in the Winter 2010 issue

Tags: Alumni, Teaching and learning

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