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Stories this week at Wake Forest University


September 18, 2008

BAILOUTS LOCK UNCLE SAM DEEPER IN PRIVATE MARKETS — The federal government’s takeover of mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac last week ensures that Uncle Sam will play a larger, direct role in the housing market for a long time to come, says Rob Bliss, professor and F.M. Kirby Chair in Business Excellence at the Calloway School of Business and Accountancy.  By taking an 80 percent stake in American International Group (AIG),  federal involvement deepens in the bond insurance business.  Such commitments will be difficult to exit.  “The government is in an awkward position,” Bliss notes.“It needs Freddie and Fannie to ‘prime the mortgage market pump’ to pull the housing market out of its slump. That means allowing them to grow bigger and riskier, rather than shrink them. Meanwhile, both are losing money—now the taxpayer’s money. It is going to be difficult to get outside equity investment to reduce their leverage. Liquidation (conversion to receivership) is unlikely, as that would involve further downward pressure on mortgage-backed security prices. For better or worse, the Treasury now‘owns’ a long-term problem.”  Bliss is an expert on banking regulation and  insolvency and is available to comment on the current financial turmoil.

Contact: Eric Frazier, frazieef@wfu.edu or (336) 758-5237.

OPENING CONVOCATION HIGHLIGHTS THE ARTS AT WFU David Lubin, Charlotte C. Weber Professor of Art at Wake Forest, will deliver Wake Forest’s Opening Convocation address at 4 p.m. Sept. 18 in Wait Chapel. Lubin will explore how the arts spark our curiosity and engage our imagination in a talk titled “Disturbing the Peace: Wake Forest and the Arts.” Lubin teaches the history of art, cinema and popular culture. He is the author of four books, the most recent, “Shooting Kennedy,” examines the photographic portrayal of John and Jackie Kennedy from 1953 to 1963. Another of his books, “Titanic,” is an in-depth critical analysis of the blockbuster movie. During the convocation, the award-winning Wake Forest Debate Team will be recognized and the Waddill Excellence in Teaching Award, the Reinhardt Award for Distinguished Teaching, and the Schoonmaker Faculty Award for Community Service will be conferred.  The event is free and open to the public.

Contact: Audrey Fannin, fannin@wfu.edu or (336) 758-5237.

 

BABCOCK SCHOOL LOOKS AT ALTERNATIVE ENERGY — In response to the recent challenge by former Vice President Al Gore to abandon electricity generated by fossil fuels by 2018 and rely on solar, wind and other environmentally friendly sources of power, the Babcock Graduate School of Management will host a symposium on alternative energy from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 19 at Worrell Professional Center, Room 1312 (the Law Auditorium).  Topics will include solar power, bio-mass power, wind power, hydrogen load-shifting and other alternative sources of power.  Presenters will include Wake Forest Babcock School alumnus Garald Cottrell (’96), who is a bio-mass fuel entrepreneur; Ollie Frazier, director of  renewable energy and carbon strategy at Duke Energy; Frederick Harris, John B. McKinnon Professor of Managerial Economics & Finance; and Dan Fogel, associate dean of working professional programs and executive professor of strategy.  The symposium is free and open to the public.

Contact: Lisa Snedeker, lisa.snedeker@mba.wfu.edu or (336) 441-0027.

NEW ORLEANS JAZZ CONCERT TO RAISE REBUILDING FUNDS Irvin Mayfield and the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra (NOJO) will make its North Carolina debut as part of Wake Forest’s Secrest Artists Series at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 25 in Wait Chapel.  Tickets to the concert are available through the Box Office at (336) 758-5295.  Concertgoers and attendees of the “Creators of Jazz concert/lecture at 3 p.m. Sept. 24 will have the opportunity to support the New Orleans Public Library Rebuild Project, which is raising money to rebuild or repair library branches damaged by Hurricane Katrina.  As part of a collaborative effort between Wake Forest and the arts-magnet program at Reynolds High School, Reynolds students will be given a private concert by the NOJO.  Musicians will also hold interdisciplinary workshops.  Class officers will present the musicians with the money they collected during a school-wide service project/contest to assist with the NOPL Rebuild Project. 

Contact: Pam Barrett, barretpm@wfu.edu or (336) 758-5237.

 

PRESIDENTIAL DEBATES ‘HUGELY IMPORTANT’ TO ELECTION Allan Louden, associate professor of communication, is looking toward the upcoming presidential debates as pivotal in this election. The first one will be held Sept. 26. “Debates are hugely important in this election,” Louden said.  “This time, they could be the game, the whole game.”  He said they are more “high-risk” for Obama, partly because Obama declined earlier debates that could have diluted the importance of the ones sponsored by the Commission on Presidential Debates. “Experience does count for something and all it would take is a moment when Obama is caught flat-footed and McCain knows something. That would erase the age issue. Then again a senior moment, like Reagan’s closing statement in his first debate, could sink McCain.”  Louden is an expert on presidential debates and political campaigns.  He regularly analyzes political ads and provides commentary on political debates for national media outlets. He posts debate analysis on DebateScoop.org, a Web site devoted to encouraging lively analysis of political debates.  This fall, he is teaching courses on political communication and digital politics. He also studies negativity in campaigns and recently taught a course on that topic.

Contact:  Cheryl Walker, walkercv@wfu.edu or (336) 758-5237.

HEALTH REFORMS AND THE ELECTIONS Health policy experts will gather at Wake Forest Sept. 25 for a panel discussion on health reform and the 2008 elections.  Free and open to the public, the event will take place from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. in Carswell Halls’ Annenberg Forum, Room 111.  Health policy scholar Jonathan B. Oberlander of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill will make a presentation at the panel discussion.  Panelists from Wake Forest include:  Mark Hall, Fred D. and Elizabeth L. Turnage Professor of Law at Wake Forest School of Law and professor of social sciences and health policy at Wake Forest School of Medicine; Michael S. Lawlor, professor of economics and director of the undergraduate minor in health policy and administration; and Alison Snow Jones, associate professor of social sciences and health policy at Wake Forest School of Medicine.  The discussion is sponsored by the Wake Forest School of Medicine’s Program in Bioethics, Health and Society and the Wake Forest Department of Communication.

Contact:  Kevin Cox, coxkp@wfu.edu or (336) 758-5237.

DOES EVERY VOTE COUNT? — Voting and its quagmires have heavily influenced politics in the 21st century.  In his timely fall course for freshmen, “The Mathematics of Voting,” Jason Parsley, assistant professor of mathematics, introduces students to such mathematical principles as “Arrow’s Impossibility Theorem,” which indicates that if three or more candidates are running, there is no “fair” system for deciding a winner.  The course will examine the strengths and weaknesses of various voting systems in use, including plurality rule, instant runoff voting, approval voting and the Electoral College.  Students will also discuss current election topics such as the debates over electronic voting machines and felon disenfranchisement.

Contact: Audrey Fannin, fannin@wfu.edu or (336) 758-5237.

FATHERS AND DAUGHTERS:  STRENGTHENING THE BONDS — Fathers and daughters often do not have the close ties mothers and daughters have, says Linda Nielsen, professor of education at Wake Forest.  In her new book, “Between Fathers & Daughters:  Enriching and Rebuilding your Adult Relationship” (Cumberland House Publishing, September 2008), Nielsen offers practical advice for strengthening the father-daughter bond.  “Sadly, too many of us continue to downplay the importance of the father-daughter relationship in comparison to the mother-daughter relationship,” Nielsen said.  “We still too often treat dads, especially divorced dads, like the mom’s ‘sidekick’ or her ‘apprentice’ in parenting.  The research is so overwhelming and so consistent in regard to the lifelong impact that a dad has on his daughter, and also the tremendous impact that daughters have on their fathers.”  In the book, Nielsen explores the family dynamics that prevent fathers and daughters of all ages from having a more relaxed, more meaningful relationship.  She looks at some of the barriers to good relationships including issues related to money and work, negative beliefs about fathers, communication, divorce and remarriage.

Contact:  Cheryl Walker, walkercv@wfu.edu or (336) 758-5237.

WFU ALUMNUS KICKS OFF WRITERS READING SERIES — Wake Forest University alumnus and author Clint McCown will kick off the fall 2008 Dillon Johnston Writers Reading Series with a reading and book discussion at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 25 in Tribble Hall’s DeTamble Auditorium.  The event is free and open to the public, and a reception and book signing will follow the reading.  McCown, who has published three novels and three volumes of poems, has received numerous literary awards and has also worked as and editor, a screenwriter and as an actor.  He is a professor of English at Virginia Commonwealth University, where he serves on the creative writing faculty and teaches fiction writing, creative nonfiction writing and literary journalism.  He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English from Wake Forest and a Master of Fine Arts degree from Indiana University.

Contact: Eric Frazier, frazieef@wfu.edu or (336) 758-5237.

NEW WEB SITE PROMOTES RELIGIOUS TOLERANCE — “Fighting Religious Intolerance: Portraits of Hate, Lessons of Hope” (http://fightingreligiousintolerance.org/) aims to promote religious tolerance by raising awareness of intolerance in the United States, not just in the past but as it exists today. The Web site uses visual media such as cartoons, photographs and leaflets to illustrate the vilification and persecution of religious groups in America. The site is the result of a challenge posed by Lynn Neal, assistant professor of religion at Wake Forest, to the students in her spring course, “Religious Intolerance in the United States,” to create a Web site incorporating what they learned in the class. The Web site includes links to resources for promoting religious tolerance and for understanding a variety of religious traditions, as well as a moderated discussion area. “I think this will be a great tool for high school and college classes exploring this issue,” says Neal.

Contact: Audrey Fannin, fannin@wfu.edu or (336) 758-5237.

NEW CENTER HELPS BUSINESS MAJORS SHARPEN IMAGE The Ernst & Young Professional Development Center has opened in Kirby Hall to help all business majors in the Calloway School of Business and Accountancy sharpen job-readiness skills in such areas as business etiquette, professional presence, time management, team-building and networking.  The center was established this summer through the generosity of the Ernst & Young Foundation, as well as that of the partners and employees of Ernst & Young.  Sam Leonard Beck, who received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Wake Forest, has been appointed as the first director of the new center and brings to the task more than 20 years of experience in career development in higher education.

Contact: Eric Frazier, frazieef@wfu.edu or (336) 758-5237.

HEINZ CEO TO KICK OFF BABCOCK LEADERSHIP SERIES — David Moran, executive vice president, president and chief executive officer of Heinz North America, will kick off the 2008-09 Babcock Leadership Series at Wake Forest’s Babcock Graduate School of Management.  Moran is scheduled to speak at 5 p.m. Sept. 24 in the Worrell Professional Center, Room 1312.  Moran will address his career path at Heinz and how the business has evolved and grown under a new leadership model. The event is free and open to the public.

Contact: Lisa Snedeker, lisa.snedeker@mba.wfu.edu or (336) 441-0027.

MAKING SENSE OF POLITICAL CHANGES IN PAKISTAN — Charles Kennedy, professor of political science at Wake Forest, can put Pakistan’s ongoing political upheaval into perspective.  He can explain the events leading up to former President Pervez Musharraf’s recent resignation and what this will mean for Pakistan’s relationship with the United States and the ongoing war on terror. Kennedy is a former director of the American Institute of Pakistan Studies, and remains on the board of directors of that organization as well as the Kashmir Study Group. He is author of several books and articles on Pakistan including his most recent book, “Government and Politics in South Asia,” published last month. Other books include “Pakistan: 2005,” “Pakistan at the Millennium,” “The Kashmir Dispute at Fifty: Charting Paths to Peace,” and “Islamization of Laws and Economy: Case Studies on Pakistan” among many others. He published a chapter titled “Pakistan’s Anti-Terrorism Regime” in “New Perspectives on Pakistan: Contexts, Realities and Visions for the Future.” Kennedy travels frequently to the region and is available to discuss the current state of affairs in Pakistan.

Contact: Audrey Fannin, fannin@wfu.edu or (336) 758-5237.


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