OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

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Celebrate Veterans Day – then head back to class

CORVALLIS, Ore. – With improved educational benefits and after years of conflict in the Middle East, a flood of veterans are heading to college in numbers that surpass those of recent history.

Oregon State University has 1,025 students who are receiving veteran educational benefits, a new record and the most of any university in Oregon. They now account for about one out of every 25 students at OSU, and a range of programs are being created or expanded to help facilitate this stream of incoming veterans.

“I’ve talked to counterparts all over the country and this is clearly a national trend,” said Gus Bedwell, the OSU veteran resources coordinator. “OSU has always had quite a few veteran students, but right now we’re almost triple the number of five years ago. Other institutions are also seeing three to four times as many veterans as they used to.”

Part of the increase, officials say, is due to an expansion of educational benefits that were put in place in the early 2000s, including some that veteran dependents and spouses can use. A weak economy also made it an opportune time for veterans to attend college, just like many other students.

OSU has responded with renewed efforts to pave the way for returning veterans, programs to cut through federal bureaucracy, and make sure the students get both the personal and professional help they need.

Two new initiatives at OSU are an example. A Student Health Services Veterans Work Group is helping to ensure treatment of the full range of health concerns that veterans face, including access to some local services. And a Veterans Work Group focuses much of its efforts on academic and programmatic support. This group and other officials have trained advisers, worked to expedite the transfer of military transcripts to academia, and helped keep students informed during the recent government shutdown.

A website at http://oregonstate.edu/veterans/home/ helps guide veterans, and a veterans lounge in the OSU Memorial Union allows veterans an opportunity to meet and build their community in a casual setting.

“OSU has really made an effort to understand the obstacles veterans face and help work around them,” Bedwell said.

For instance, he said, the federal government is often slow at making veteran educational benefit payments. Officials know the money will come, but in the meantime it can cost students penalties, interest, and create “holds” that interfere with course registration. So the university created a mechanism to avoid these holds, allow regular progress with an educational program, and refund any penalties once the government payments are made. This program is called the “Goodwill Interest Waiver.”

The university’s nationally recognized program of distance education, E-Campus, is also a favorite with many veterans. They can take courses while living literally anywhere in the world and earn degrees in a wide range of fields.

OSU, with its origin as a land grant college, had a mandate under the Morrill Act of 1862 to “include military tactics” as part of its educational program, and the university has always been tuned to the needs of veterans.

It’s one of a limited number of schools that hosts all four branches of the Reserve Officers Training Corp, and its student center, the Memorial Union, was named to help honor veterans, many of them returned from World War I. OSU has earned the title of “Military Friendly School” by GI Jobs several years in a row.

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Gus Bedwell, 541-737-7662

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Veterans Day Parade

Students in parade

Celebrated memoirist Nick Flynn to read at OSU on Oct. 11

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Writer Nick Flynn will read from his work on Friday, Oct. 11, at Oregon State University’s Valley Library rotunda. The free public event begins at 7:30 p.m. and will be followed by a question and answer session and book signing.

Flynn is the author of three memoirs including “The Reenactments” (2013), “The Ticking is the Bomb: A Memoir of Bewilderment” (2010) and “Another … Night in Suck City” (2004). Flynn is also the author of three books of poetry.

Of Flynn’s most recent memoir, “The Reenactments,”  Kirkus Reviews wrote: “Flynn’s determination to better understand his life through the act of writing and remembering has yielded a truly insightful, original work.” Clea Simon of The Boston Globe said Flynn’s writing is “always specific and honest” and “dryly funny.”

His award-winning memoir “Another … Night in Suck City” was turned into the movie “Being Flynn,” starring Robert De Niro and Paul Dano. That book recounted his unusual relationship with his alcoholic father and the suicide of his mother.

Flynn, 52, is a professor of poetry and married to actress Lili Taylor.

Flynn has been awarded fellowships from The Guggenheim Foundation, The Library of Congress, The Amy Lowell Trust, and The Fine Arts Work Center.

The Visiting Writers Series brings nationally-known writers to Oregon State University. The program is made possible by support from The Valley Library, OSU Press, the OSU School of Writing, Literature, and Film, the College of Liberal Arts, Kathy Brisker and Tim Steele, and Grass Roots Books and Music.

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Rachel Ratner, 516-652-5817

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Nick Flynn

TEDxOregonStateU conference to be held Feb. 12 in Corvallis

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University will host TEDxOregonStateU, a conference featuring a series of short talks on the theme of disruption, on Thursday, Feb. 12, on the Corvallis campus.

Speakers include a producer of the television show “Xploration Outerspace;” a winner of the fashion design competition “Project Runway;” a former war correspondent; an information technology executive; and an Oregon State student involved in cancer research.

TEDx events feature talks, demonstrations or performances that foster learning, inspiration and wonder. They are independently organized events in the style of the TED conference. This is the second TEDx event to be held at OSU. This year’s event is being organized by OSU students Aaron LaVigne and Dustin Fernandes and recent alumnus Vinay Bikkina.

The speakers, who will all touch on aspects of the theme, disruption, are:

  • Emily Calandrelli: A co-producer and host of FOX’s new show, “Xploration Outer Space,” she works to promote scientific literacy and women in science, technology, engineering and math, and she is passionate about technology policy, entrepreneurship, open innovation, space exploration. A former NASA employee, Calandrelli holds a master’s degree in aerospace engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
  • David Edelstein: He is senior vice president of global programs at Grameen Foundation and director of the Grameen Foundation Technology Center. Edelstein previously worked at Microsoft, where he designed a flexible financing model to enable people in developing countries to afford their first computers and led efforts to implement this new business model in several countries.
  • Hanson Hosein: He is the director of the communication leadership graduate program at the University of Washington and president of HRH Media Group. A former NBC News war correspondent, backpack journalist and investigative producer, Hosein is the recipient of several prestigious awards in the media industry.
  • Michelle Lesniak: She is the season 11 winner of “Project Runway,” and is known for her strong design sense and quick wit. She is dedicated to local manufacturing and ethical business practices and is playing a key role in shaping and growing the Portland fashion industry.
  • Matthew Kaiser: Kaiser is an undergraduate student at OSU, working toward an honors degree in microbiology and minors in Spanish, chemistry and toxicology. He is a fellow in the Linus Pauling Institute’s Cancer Chemoprevention Program and is preparing a manuscript on vitamin C and cancer.

The event will run from 6 to 9 p.m. in the LaSells Stewart Center, 875 S.W. 26th St. Tickets are $20, or $15 for students. Tickets and additional information are available online at www.oregonstate.edu/TEDxOregonStateU. Follow the event on Twitter: @TEDxOregonState; Instagram: TEDxOregonStateU; or on Facebook: www.Facebook.com/TEDxOregonStateU.

 


 

About TEDx, x=independently organized event: In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TED Talks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized. (Subject to certain rules and regulations.)

About TED: TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to ideas worth spreading. Started as a four-day conference in California 30 years ago, TED has grown to support its mission with multiple initiatives. The two annual TED Conferences invite the world's leading thinkers and doers to speak for 18 minutes or less. Many of these talks are then made available, free, at TED.com. TED speakers have included Bill Gates, Jane Goodall, Elizabeth Gilbert, Sir Richard Branson, Nandan Nilekani, Philippe Starck, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Sal Khan and Daniel Kahneman. Follow TED on Twitter at http://twitter.com/TEDTalks or on Facebook, http://www.facebook.com/TED.

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Jenn Casey, 541-737-0695, jenn.casey@oregonstate.edu

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Michelle Lesniak

Michelle Lesniak
Hanson Hosein
Hanson Hosein
Matthew Kaiser
Matthew Kaiser

Renowned Jesus scholar Marcus Borg dies at 72

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Marcus Borg, a renowned New Testament scholar known for his groundbreaking books on the life of Jesus, died Wednesday, Jan. 21, following a battle with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.

Borg, a professor emeritus of religion and philosophy at Oregon State University, was 72.

The Hundere Distinguished Professor of Religion and Culture at OSU, Borg joined the Oregon State faculty in 1979 and became known as one of the nation’s foremost biblical and historical Jesus scholars until his retirement in 2007. He wrote 21 books, including the bestsellers “Jesus: A New Vision,” and “Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time.”

After his retirement, Borg was appointed Canon Theologian of Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Portland, where he lived.

In 1993, Borg was named the first Hundere Chair for Religion and Culture, a position created by a gift from OSU engineering alumnus Al Hundere, who gave a $1.5 million gift to the university after being inspired by Borg’s studies of the historical Jesus. In 1995, Borg produced a series of lectures celebrating the 2,000th birthday of Jesus, in a two-day conference featuring a number of prominent religious scholars. The conference was televised and viewed around the country. Papers from the conference were eventually published in book form as “Jesus at 2000.”

Following the success of the event, Borg helped organize the “God at 2000” symposium at OSU in early 2000. This nationally televised symposium featured Archbishop Desmond Tutu among many other scholars and authors.  

During his time at OSU, Borg received every one of OSU’s major awards for teaching and he was the first faculty member in the College of Liberal Arts to be designated a “Distinguished Professor.” Borg explored what it meant to be a Christian in modern times, and his work often provoked controversy over his frank discussions surrounding literal versus modern interpretations of the Bible.

Current Hundere Chair Courtney Campbell, who was a longtime colleague of Borg’s, said that although Borg sometimes received angry correspondence from people who disagreed with his work, he always focused on civil discourse.

“I never once heard him be critical of the character of those whose disagreements carried over to polemical ad hominems against him,” Campbell said.

Campbell was hired by Borg, and when the religious studies department was absorbed into the philosophy department, he said Borg fought to keep Campbell on the faculty, and continued to be an inspiration to Campbell and other colleagues.

“Marc's legacy is one of selfless sharing of the resources of the Hundere endowment to promote the professional development of his colleagues,” Campbell said. “He was a true teacher, demanding but transformational for his students. He displayed a collegial style of gracious humility coupled with intellectual astuteness.”

Professor Emeritus Peter List, who formerly chaired the OSU philosophy department, said Borg's role as a cheerful, thoughtful teacher and leader made him a credit to the department, and his scholarship brought international prestige to OSU.

"His thoughtful ideas brought considerable excitement and meaning to his many students, regardless of their religious affiliations or beliefs," List said. "He was very approachable as a person in his interactions with others and was able to present controversial and sometimes difficult ideas with self-assurance, clarity, and humor."

Former colleague and Distinguished Professor Emeritus Kathleen Dean Moore said she was still in shock from news of Borg’s death.

“When I heard that Marc had passed away, my first impulse was to protest: oh no, the world still needs him,” Moore said. “And then I thought of the magnitude, the magnificence of what he has already given the world, and my second impulse was one of gratitude and love.”

Moore said Borg was a prolific writer, a wonderful teacher and speaker, and the only person who was able to clearly explain to her what it means to say that God is love.

“Marc’s work was to make sense of religious belief,” Moore said. “He wanted to show that a person could be a rational thinker and still believe in a God fully present in the world. His heart and mind were open to wondering love, rooted in gratitude for life.  This put him in opposition to fierce, defensive dogmatism and the cruelty of unquestioned obedience to textual authority.”

Borg once said he saw philosophy as being primarily concerned with the role of ideas in our lives.

“Ideas matter,” he said, “more than we commonly think they do – especially our world-views and values, namely our ideas about what is real and how we are to live. We receive such ideas from our culture as we grow up, and unless we examine them, we will not be free persons, but will to a large extent live out the agenda of our socialization.”

Mark Tauber, senior vice president and publisher of HarperOne, was an admirer of Borg’s frank approach to his work.

“His life and his work have been a challenge, a comfort and an inspiration to literally millions of readers and students over the years,” Tauber said. “In these times when writing and speaking (and illustrating) messages and stories that seek truth are dangerous, Marcus Borg was a hero and a beacon.”

Borg, who earned a Ph.D. in philosophy from Oxford University, was previously national chair of the Historical Jesus Section of the Society of Biblical Literature and co-chair of its International New Testament Program Committee. He also was president of the Anglican Association of Biblical Scholars, and a Fellow of The Jesus Seminar.

Borg is survived by his wife Marianne, son Dane, son‐in‐law Benjamin, daughter Julie, grandson Carter, and terriers Henry and Abbey. A public memorial of celebration and remembrance will be held at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, Portland, Ore. at a date and time that will be announced later.

 

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 Courtney Campbell, 541-737-6196, courtney.campbell@oregonstate.edu

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Marcus Borg

Writer Elizabeth Kolbert of The New Yorker to speak at OSU Feb. 2

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Elizabeth Kolbert, an award-winning staff writer for The New Yorker magazine, will discuss her latest book, “The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History,” on Monday, Feb. 2, at Oregon State University in Corvallis.

Kolbert’s talk begins at 7 p.m. in Austin Auditorium at LaSells Stewart Center, 875 S.W. 26th St. The event is sponsored by OSU’s Spring Creek Project for Ideas, Nature, and the Written Word, and is free and open to the public.

In “The Sixth Extinction,” Kolbert describes how humans are causing the earth’s next great extinction by altering life on the planet in a way no species has previously.

In a review, The New York Times said: “… the real power of her book resides in the hard science and historical context she delivers here, documenting the mounting losses that human beings are leaving in their wake.”

Kolbert is also author of “Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Man, Nature and Climate Change.” She is a two-time National Magazine Award winner and a recipient of a Heinz Award and Guggenheim Fellowship.

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Charles Goodrich, 541-737-6198, Charles.goodrich@oregonstate.edu

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Elizabeth Kolbert

Elizabeth Kolbert

Authors Tracy Daugherty and Wayne Harrison to read at OSU Jan. 30

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Authors Tracy Daugherty and Wayne Harrison will read from their works on Friday, Jan. 30, beginning at 7:30 p.m. at Oregon State University in Corvallis.

The reading will be held in the Valley Library rotunda, 201 S.W. Waldo Place, Corvallis. A question-and-answer session and book signing will follow. The event is free and open to the public.

Daugherty is the author of four novels, four short story collections, a book of personal essays and two literary biographies. His work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, McSweeney's, The Georgia Review and other magazines. “Hiding Man,” his biography of Donald Barthelme, was a New York Times and New Yorker notable Book of the Year. His newest book, “Just One Catch,” a biography of Joseph Heller was excerpted in Vanity Fair. Daugherty helped found the Master’s of Fine Arts program in creative writing at OSU.

Harrison received a master in fine arts degree from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and is an instructor in the School of Writing Literature and Film at OSU. His debut novel, “The Spark and The Drive,” was published in 2014. Harrison’s fiction has appeared in “Best American Short Stories 2010,” The Atlantic, Narrative Magazine, McSweeney’s and other magazines. His work also has been featured on NPR’s “All Things Considered.” His short story collection, “Wrench,” was a finalist for the Serena McDonald Kennedy Award, the Spokane Prize and the Iowa Short Fiction Award. 

The reading is part of the 2014-15 Literary Northwest Series, sponsored by the MFA Program in Creative Writing in the School of Writing, Literature, and Film. The series brings Pacific Northwest writers to OSU and is made possible by support from the OSU Libraries and Press, the OSU School of Writing, Literature, and Film, the College of Liberal Arts, Kathy Brisker and Tim Steele and Grass Roots Books and Music.

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OSU to host Willamette Valley Bird Symposium on Jan. 24

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University and the American Ornithologists’ Union will host the Willamette Valley Bird Symposium, a one-day event focusing on research and careers in avian biology, on Saturday, Jan. 24, at the Linus Pauling Science Center on the OSU campus.

The symposium is aimed at high school students, teachers and undergraduates. It is also supported by The Audubon Society of Corvallis and the U.S. Geological Survey Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center. More information is available at: http://www.audubon.corvallis.or.us/wbs.shtml

Eric Forsman, a bird expert from the U.S. Forest Service in Corvallis, will give the keynote talk: “A Thirty-Year Study of Spotted Owls in the Old-Growth Forests of Western Oregon.”

The symposium will feature more than 20 short talks on bird research. Among the topics:

  • Mercury in Willamette Valley riparian songbirds;
  • Snowy plover survival, population and management in Oregon;
  • Effectiveness of backyard wildlife habitats;
  • The Oregon 2020 project of citizen scientists contributing to Oregon bird surveys;
  • New research on Adelie penguins.

Other talks will cover a variety of bird species, including swallows, Aphelocoma jays, Pfrimer’s parakeet, songbirds, seabirds, Caspian terns, bald eagles and common murres. Monitoring technology will be covered in talks on solar-powered cameras, use of drones in ornithology, archival GPS tags on diving seabirds, and other topics.

The symposium runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. It also will feature a live bird exhibition from Chintimini Wildlife Center, demonstrations of ornithological research techniques, and a panel discussion on careers in ornithology.

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Sue Haig, 541-750-0981; willamettebirds15@gmail.com

Education aids understanding, reduces stigma of facial paralysis, OSU study shows

CORVALLIS, Ore. – A little bit of sensitivity training can help people form better first impressions of those with facial paralysis, reducing prejudices against people with a visible but often unrecognizable disability, new research from Oregon State University indicates.

There is a natural tendency to base first impressions on a person’s face, but those impressions can be inaccurate and often negative when the person has facial paralysis, said Kathleen Bogart, an assistant professor of psychology in the College of Liberal Arts at Oregon State University.

“We wanted to see what we could do to change that, and we found that education is a powerful tool,” said Bogart, who directs the Disability and Social Interaction Lab at OSU. “It takes away the uncertainty of how to accommodate the disability.”

The research showed that providing education about conditions that cause facial paralysis helps people correct their misperceptions. Education efforts could be particularly beneficial to health care workers, educators or other groups that are more likely to regularly encounter someone with facial paralysis, Bogart said.

For example, understanding the need to pay attention to other modes of communication could help a doctor develop a better relationship with a patient and more accurately detect when the patient is upset or in pain. It also could help educators avoid the assumption that an unresponsive face means the student is not attentive, and to understand when a child is actually engaged in a task, she said.

Bogart is an expert on ableism, or prejudice about disabilities, and her research focuses on the psychosocial implications of facial movement disorders such as facial paralysis and Parkinson’s disease, which affect more than 200,000 Americans. Her interest stems from personal experience; she has Moebius syndrome, a rare congenital neurological disorder characterized by facial paralysis and impaired lateral eye movement.

For the study, she conducted an experiment where some participants received sensitivity training in the form of educational information about facial paralysis, including the cause and nature of the disability. The information stressed the need to focus on body language and voice cues of people with facial paralysis. Other participants received no information on facial paralysis.

All 110 study participants were then asked to watch a series of video clips featuring people with facial paralysis, both mild and severe, and were asked to rate the sociability of the people in the videos. The people who read the educational information consistently rated people with facial paralysis as more sociable than those in the group that did not read the information.

“We found that awareness and education efforts are effective in reducing stigma related to rare disabilities such as facial paralysis,” Bogart said. “That could have a broad impact on the rare disease community, because many rare diseases are unrecognizable. People who encounter someone with a rare disease may not understand or know how to adapt to communicate with them.”

The findings are being published in the February issue of the journal “Patient Education and Counseling.” Co-author is Linda Tickle-Degnen of Tufts University. The research was supported by a grant from the National Institutes of Health.

Bogart is now developing educational materials about Moebius Syndrome targeted to educators and health care providers. She and the students in her lab also are conducting an awareness campaign in conjunction with Moebius Syndrome Awareness Day, which is held annually on Jan. 24.

The awareness campaign is a pilot project. Bogart and her students are encouraging people to take a self-portrait with a sign describing how they express themselves, then sharing the photos on social media sites using the hashtag #moebiusawareness. The Moebius Syndrome Foundation and several other college campuses are also participating in the campaign. For more information on the effort, visit: http://bit.ly/17BMR8o.

In the future, Bogart hopes to study the effectiveness of such educational efforts to determine if more information should be included, if other types of groups might be targeted or if there are other ways to enhance understanding of rare diseases such as facial paralysis.

Media Contact: 
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Kathleen Bogart, 541-737-1357, Kathleen.bogart@oregonstate.edu

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Kathleen Bogart

Kathleen Bogart

OSU to host screening, discussion of ‘Paths of Glory’ in Portland

PORTLAND, Ore. – Oregon State University will host a screening and discussion of the 1957 Stanley Kubrick film, “Paths of Glory,” beginning at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 24, at the NW Film Center at the Portland Art Museum.

The film will be introduced by Jon Lewis, professor of film studies at OSU and author of eight books on cinema and cultural studies. Lewis will give a brief talk and then he and OSU history professor Christopher McKnight Nichols will lead a discussion with the audience on the film, Kubrick’s work and World War I following the screening.

“Paths of Glory” tells the story of a unit commander in the French army who must deal with the mutiny of his men after a failed attack during World War I. The film stars Kirk Douglas as Colonel Dax, Adolphe Menjou as General Broulard and George Macready as General Mireau.

The screening is part of a larger initiative at OSU to commemorate the centennial of World War I and to explore that bloody conflict in light of its implications for citizenship in the United States and the world. The OSU series, “Citizenship and Crisis: On the Centenary of World War I," is led by the School of History, Philosophy and Religion in OSU’s College of Liberal Arts, with additional support from the School of Writing, Literature and Film.

The screening will be held in the Whitsell Auditorium at the museum, 1219 S.W. Park Ave., Portland. Tickets are $9 or $8 for seniors and students. Admission is free for OSU students with valid ID. Tickets can be purchased online at http://bit.ly/1HP8e2T or at the door. A reception co-hosted by the OSU Alumni Association and the School of Writing, Literature, and Film will follow the film screening.

For more information on the screening or the event series, visit http://bit.ly/1yAFdps.

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Source: 

Christopher McKnight Nichols, Christopher.nichols@oregonstate.edu

‘Call to Life,’ a duet of music and words, to be performed Jan. 21 in Corvallis

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Writer and philosopher Kathleen Dean Moore and concert pianist Rachelle McCabe will present a program in music and words, “In an Age of Extinction, A Call to Life,” on Wednesday, Jan. 21, in Corvallis.

The program begins at 7:30 p.m. at the Corvallis-Benton County Public Library, 645 N.W. Monroe St.  

The event is sponsored by Oregon State University’s Spring Creek Project for Ideas, Nature, and the Written Word, and the Friends of the Corvallis-Benton County Public Library. Admission is free and the public is welcome.

In the program, McCabe will play Rachmaninoff’s “Variations on a Theme of Corelli.” Creating a “duet” of music and words, Moore will speak of the call to save Earth’s lives.

“The truths of our time are deeply challenging,” said Moore, an award-winning author who speaks across the country about the moral urgency of stopping a global carbon catastrophe. “In the face of on-rushing extinctions and chaotic climate change, we must feel called to safeguard Earth’s abundance of lives. Words alone cannot express the urgency for a moral response. And so we turn to music.”

Moore is a philosopher, environmental advocate, and writer at Oregon State whose most recent books are “Wild Comfort,” and “Moral Ground: Ethical Actions for a Planet in Peril,” which gathers testimony from the world’s moral leaders about our obligations to the future. She is Distinguished Professor of Philosophy Emerita at OSU and also is co-founder and senior fellow of the Spring Creek Project.

McCabe is a concert pianist and professor of music at OSU and has an international career as a concert artist and teacher. As a concerto soloist, she has performed with many orchestras including the Seattle, Pittsburgh, Victoria, and Oregon Symphonies. She has performed recitals in cities including Washington, D.C.; Atlanta; Detroit; Seattle; Singapore; and Cambridge, United Kingdom, and has appeared on NPR's Performance Today and the CBC.

Media Contact: 

Erin Sneller, 541-737-5592, erin.sneller@oregonstate.edu

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Charles Goodrich, 541-737-6198, Charles.goodrich@oregonstate.edu