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Centennial 'fete' celebrates academia
STANFORD -- The Centennial Finale Weekend, Sept. 28-Oct. 1, will include a keynote address by the Hon. Carlos Salinas de Gortari, president of Mexico, the Centennial Operating Committee has announced.
Also playing a featured role in the fall program will be Ted Koppel (AM '62), host of ABC News' "Nightline."
At the heart of Finale Weekend are three convocations offering a view of Stanford and the world near the turn of the century. The Oval will serve as amphitheater for each, framed by the Quad and foothills. Distinguished national and international leaders will explore each day's special theme.
"The Finale Weekend, like the rest of the centennial year, is meant to be a celebration of the university, the accomplishments of its academic community and its purposes for the future," committee chairman Gerald J. Lieberman said. "That is why we regard it as a fundamentally academic celebration.
"From the beginning, the programming has consisted of on-campus, academic events accessible to the broad Stanford and local community," Lieberman, professor of operations research and statistics, said.
The operating committee, established in 1986 to develop a set of purposes for the university's centennial commemoration, has planned a Finale Weekend that will underscore a pattern that has produced or endorsed more than 100 academic conferences, publications and exhibitions over the past four years, ranging from three large-scale centennial symposia on issues pressing contemporary society to a catalog of the Stanford University Libraries' collections and international tours by the Stanford String Quartet and the Stanford Symphony Orchestra.
"Finale Weekend will be more of the same, only on a more intensely interdisciplinary scale," Lieberman said.
Focus on international cooperation
Mexico's President Salinas will speak on Monday, Sept. 30, in a flag-filled convocation titled "Beyond Schools: Teaching and Learning Together," focusing on Stanford's cooperation with universities around the world.
Invitations to other heads of state were pending for convocations Sunday and Tuesday mornings, titled "Beyond Borders: Seeing the World Whole," which will explore Stanford's opportunity as a Pacific Rim university, poised between Canada, Mexico, Asia and Europe, to heighten understanding among nations, and "The Stanford Family and Beyond: Envisioning the New West."
The Sunday and Monday convocations will be followed by roundtable discussions on contemporary issues. Participants will include economics Prof. Michael Boskin, chairman of the President's Council of Economic Advisors; Henry Cisneros, former mayor of San Antonio; Carla Hills, U.S. trade representative; Amalia Mesa-Bains, commissioner of arts for San Francisco; Kenichi Ohmae, director of McKinsey & Co. in Japan; and George P. Shultz, Parker Professor of International Economics at the Graduate School of Business and distinguished fellow at the Hoover Institution.
Two broad themes, "The World Redefined" and "The New America," were developed by faculty planning committees counseled by President Emeritus Richard W. Lyman and directed by David Kennedy, professor of history, and Albert Hastorf, professor emeritus of psychology. These themes will provide the framework for roundtables on world peace, social equity, national boundaries and personal rights, planetary survival, the new world order, global community and values in conflict, among others. About 75 international participants will speak. To date, Koppel; television veteran Fred Friendly, executive director of Columbia University Seminars on Media and Society; Harvard President Derek Bok; Harvard law Prof. Charles Ogletree; Newsweek editor Maynard Parker; and management guru Tom Peters have been enlisted.
Back to the classrooms
After that, members of Stanford's faculty will take to the classrooms, offering more than 200 classes to returning alumni. From Shakespeare to semiconductors, from cholesterol to climate change, classes were conceived and faculty recruited by the deans of the university's seven schools.
The Haas Center for Public Service will present a program on commitment to service from 4 to 6 p.m. on Sunday in Frost Amphitheater.
Anchored by morning receptions in student residences and community centers, Saturday offers a home football match with Colorado. Other outdoor activities include an early morning run, and, for those who would rather play games than watch one, a family picnic on Roble Field. Saturday ends by celebrating Stanford's extended family of cultures, beginning with a multi- course dinner serving cuisines of the world and concluding with a torchlight dance on Escondido Road. This evening's program reflects the effort and counsel of the Alumni Advisory Committee on Multicultural Planning, established in 1989 to advise the Centennial Operating Committee.
On Sunday night, the evening program moves into downtown Palo Alto, where an old-fashioned block party will include a food fair organized by local restaurants, musical entertainment, special merchant promotions and a colorful homecoming parade down University Avenue, leading back to the Quad for a starlit dance.
Performances, receptions, open houses, tours and exhibitions will run throughout the weekend.
On Monday, a sunset alumni dinner on the Quad will begin the commemoration of the final night of Stanford's 100th year. Stanford's first century will close with a crescendo -- the Stanford Centennial Stadium Spectacular on Monday, Sept. 30, at 8 p.m. World-renowned celebrities, including Koppel as master of ceremonies, will present a historic pageant, dramatizing the story of Stanford University with the aid of innovative staging that includes three 40-foot video screens, laser and light technology, and fireworks.
Tickets, priced at $15 with Stanford identification and $25 for general admission, will be available through the Stanford Athletic Department Ticket Office this summer. Revenues from ticket sales and sponsorship of the Stadium Spectacular are targeted to cover not only the show's direct expenses but other elements of the weekend as well, Lieberman said.
Sale of centennial memorabilia also will defray some of the weekend's costs.
Alumni must pay a $20 registration fee to attend Finale Weekend, plus additional fees for meals, performing arts events, the football game and the Stadium Spectacular.
The registration fee is waived for staff and students, who will have an opportunity this summer to register for the convocations, 5K/10K centennial run, football game, dances, open houses, downtown Palo Alto festivities and the Stadium Spectacular. University supervisors will be encouraged to allow staff, to the extent possible, to attend events on Monday and Tuesday, Sept. 30 and Oct. 1.
Events open to the local community include the 5K/10K run, the football game, the downtown Palo Alto celebration, the dance on the Quad and the Stadium Spectacular.
"Until the dust settles in the wake of the weekend, we won't know how much University money will actually be expended on the commemoration," Lieberman said. "There are so many variables involved, from the number of people who attend to the security requirements depending on which world leaders appear, to the number of sponsors involved and the amount of merchandise and tickets sold. Our goal is austerity, however, and we have reason to hope that the figure will be close to zero."
Registration materials will be sent to alumni and faculty in the spring issue of Stanford Magazine, scheduled for mailing at the end of May. Staff members will receive registration packets through interdepartmental mail in early July, and students will receive them at home in August.
The substance and focus of the weekend -- designed to conclude with the 100th anniversary of opening day on Tuesday morning, Oct. 1 -- also provide a fitting backdrop to the $1.1 billion Centennial Campaign, said John Ford, vice president for development and a member of the Centennial Operating Committee.
"It is important not only to invite back the thousands of alumni and volunteers who have been so generous, but to present them with a program that vividly illustrates the university they support," Ford said. "Beyond that, we've worked hard to make the events affordable and accessible to alumni of all generations and backgrounds. This is an important opportunity to bond young alumni to Stanford's future."
Role in society
The weekend's events, like all the previous centennial events, are also intended to heighten public awareness of the university's role in society.
Since the start of Stanford's 100th year, the Centennial Operating Committee has staged an opening convocation welcoming the 100th enrolling class, and featuring Brown University President Vartan Gregorian and U.S. astronaut Mae Jemison; the dedication of a U.S. postal card in Stanford's honor, with the Hon. Pete Wilson speaking; a San Francisco Symphony tribute performance featuring Stanford student Chuck Seiber as violin soloist; and a combined Founders' Day and Parents' Weekend, with speakers including University President Emeritus Richard W. Lyman and Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Wallace Stegner, who founded the Creative Writing Program at Stanford.
Three centennial year symposia -- "The Information Explosion," "The Human Genome Project" and "Ethnicity, Equity, and Environment" -- were held the first week of each academic quarter, bringing together scholars from the world over to discuss some of society's most vexing problems with students, faculty, staff and community members.
"It behooves us, at such a historic juncture, to project where this institution is headed," Lieberman said. "Perhaps especially now, at a time when it is easy to lose perspective on what Stanford is about and what its extended family has accomplished over a century, we need such an occasion to provide a proper frame of reference, and to reassert Stanford's enduring purposes."
Other Centennial Operating Committee members are Jean H. Fetter, dean of undergraduate admissions; Robert E. Freelen, vice president for public affairs; Executive Director Stephen Peeps; Lawrence Ryan, professor emeritus of English; William E. Stone, president of the Stanford Alumni Association; and Ewart Thomas, dean of humanities and sciences.
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