Talks of the town

Friday, November 10, 2023

Dedicated students, distinguished colleagues and dear friends,

Happy Friday!

Universities, as nodes of knowledge, serve in the public interest and, in their local capacity, they operate like bright lightbulbs that shed light unto their surrounding communities. In that light, with no pun intended, we are proud to announce our Chancellor’s Speaker Seriesthat is intended to serve the university and our community by inviting nationally recognized speakers to offer diverse, inspiring and enlightening perspectives.

The fact is that all of us on campus and in the broader community have biases that we might not even realize. Revealing them, even to ourselves, will be uncomfortable, to say the least. However, to benefit from the collective perspective of our communities, we must become aware of our own subconscious and unconscious biases. The vision for our speaker series is to broaden our view of our environment by offering the opportunity for our speakers to freely express their perspectives, experiences and insights to enlighten us in new ways. Diversity, in all its forms, is a fact of life, and if we are to better understand each other, we must listen, learn and ponder different views of our world.

Our upcoming speakers include prominent philosophers, politicians, humanitarians, military leaders, advocates for women and minority rights, business leaders, scientists and engineers, philanthropists, and other possibility thinkers who have vast understanding of their domain and the implications of their approaches.

Our speaker series commenced last night when our inaugural speaker, Sen. Roy Blunt, whose lifetime of public service has garnered him national and global recognition, highlighted his perspective on contemporary geopolitical events. Next week, on Nov. 15, alumnus Gary White, who with actor Matt Damon co-founded and WaterEquity to bring clean and safe drinking water and sanitation to millions, will present the challenges of our modern world vis-à-vis humanity’s basic survival needs. Future speakers include Dr. Sharon Walker, dean of the College of Engineering at Drexel University, and John Ashcroft, former U.S. Attorney General, authorities of diverse fields who will present informative and perhaps controversial perspectives that do or do not necessarily reflect the university’s view on the topics.

Our speaker series is our way of contributing to the broader community by tapping the collective wisdom that exists, in a distributed manner, in the rich, varied and colorful mosaic of thoughts, experiences and expressions. Our hopes are that our speakers not only enrich our perspectives and open our minds, but also open our hearts to see and sense others. It is not farfetched to say that many of the past and current wars, these most curious perversions of human logic, are attributable to a lack of understanding of the views and needs of others. May our “talks of the town” enlarge our worlds and change our prism to increase harmony and reduce conflict.

Finally, and most importantly, from all of us here at S&T to all our veterans on Veterans Day, thank you for your dedication and for your service with honor. We appreciate your sacrifices and the sacrifices of your families who love and support you.



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Mohammad Dehghani, PhD
Chancellor | 573-341-4116

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