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Public health, IU Northwest history headline the 2008 COAS Research Conference

‘Living Legend in Medicine’ Dr. Linda Fried, of Columbia University, will give Nov. 13 keynote address on public health

The history of Indiana University Northwest and the future of public health in America are the two headline topics for the Fifth Annual IU Northwest College of Arts and Sciences Research Conference: Standing on the Shoulders of Giants, which will be held on Wednesday, Nov. 12, and Thursday, Nov. 13, in the IU Northwest Library Conference Center.

The campus and Northwest Indiana communities are invited to attend these and other free presentations as part of the university’s acclaimed two-day event, which this year features presentations on such other diverse topics as American history, Haitian voodoo, the Iraq war, sub-prime mortgages, and Gary’s 1919 steel strike.

Dr. Linda Fried, M.D., M.P.H., internationally recognized scientist, professor of epidemiology and medicine, and dean of Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, will deliver the keynote address, “Public Health: For Our Future,” starting at 4 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 13, in the Library Conference Center. Fried is an acclaimed epidemiologist and geriatrician whose research has contributed extensively to knowledge about how to maintain health among the aging. Fried is the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including her designation as a “Living Legend of Medicine” by the U.S. Congress and as one of the “Top 100 Women in Maryland.”

Dr. Fried’s Nov. 13 presentation is free and open to the public. This event is cosponsored by the IU Northwest College of Health and Human Services.

On Wednesday, Nov. 12, the history of IU Northwest will take center stage, as the university begins a year-long celebration of the Gary campus’s 50th anniversary.

A plenary presentation, “IU Northwest’s History: From Gary Extension Center to Self-Standing University — Years of Growth, 1958-1968,” will include presentations by: Professor Emeritus of History Paul Kern, Ph.D., on the initial controversy surrounding the university’s move to Glen Park; Professor Emeritus of History James Lane, Ph.D., on IU Northwest’s first chancellor, Jack Buhner; and from Professor Emeritus of History William Neill, Ph.D., who also served for a time as acting director of IU Northwest, on the institution’s early years. This plenary session will be moderated by Professor of English Alan Barr, Ph.D.

This look back at the early history of Northwest Indiana’s IU campus will run from 12 p.m. until 2 p.m. on Nov. 12 in the Library Conference Center Rooms A and B. This and all other COAS research presentations are free and open to the public.

This year’s other presentations cover a variety of subjects and fields. Presenters include IU Northwest students and faculty, as well as guest presenters from other campuses.

At 2:30 p.m. on Nov. 13, IU Northwest Professor of Labor Studies Ruth Needleman, Ph.D., will present “Unknown Giants: Race and the 1919 Steel Strike in Gary.” At 4 p.m. on Nov. 12, Associate Professor of Minority Studies Raoul Contreras, Ph.D., will present “The U.S. War and Occupation in Iraq: The Impact on U.S. Institutions, Culture, Political Institutions, and American Democracy.” On Nov. 13, in the 9 a.m. session, student Debra Towasnicki will present “Voudou: The Traditional Religion of Haiti.”

Guest presenters include: Emilie Le Beau Lucchesi of DePaul University, who will present “Sold: High Expectations, HGTV and Sub-prime Mortgages” in the 9 a.m. session on Nov. 13; and Ryan Henke of the University of Illinois at Chicago, who will present “Anxiety of Wealth: Early American Evangelicals, Prosperity, and the Middle Class” in a separate 9 a.m. session on Nov. 13.

This year’s conference is dedicated to the late Robin Hass Birky, who was an associate professor of English and, for three years, the associate vice chancellor for academic affairs at IU Northwest. Hass Birky, who passed away on Aug. 29, was one of the chief organizers of the annual COAS research conference, as well as a frequent presenter. It was Hass Birky who gave the conference its enduring name: “Standing on the Shoulders of Giants.”

The 2008 conference also marks the first one that has not been overseen by Professor of Communication Dorothy Ige, Ph.D., who served as dean of COAS for seven years. Ige stepped down from that post this summer to return to the classroom, and this year she will participate in the conference as a moderator and presenter. Ige and Associate Professor of Communication Lori Montalbano, Ph.D., will present “Bynum & Myer: Thematic Rhetorical Analysis of Black and White Female Preacher Evangelists” during a 9 a.m. session on Nov. 13.

Many other fascinating COAS presentations will take place in the Library Conference Center at various times throughout this two-day event. Students and faculty from other area universities, and members of the Northwest Indiana community, are encouraged to attend these presentations and learn about the exciting scholarly research that is taking place at IU Northwest.

For more information on the 2008 COAS research conference, contact the College of Arts and Sciences at (219) 980-6740 or send e-mail to The conference Web site can be accessed at



Media Contact:

Christopher Sheid

Michelle Searer

Related Links

2008 COAS Research Conference

Complete conference schedule

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