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Former Harvard President to
Lecture on College Education Challenges

April 4, 2011

By Henry DeVries

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Photo of Derek Bok
Photo of Harvard University president Derek Bok

The New York Times once said: “We have, alas, all too few wise people in our media-saturated and celebrity-driven public life. Derek Bok is one of them.“

Former Harvard University president Bok will speak on “Can Undergraduate Education Meet the Challenges of the 21st Century?” at 7 pm Tuesday April 26 in the University of California San Diego Price Center Ballroom East. The event is free and open to the public with no tickets or reservations required.

During his tenure as Harvard president, Bok was a vocal advocate for student participation in public service. By the end of his presidency, more than 60 percent of Harvard undergraduates were engaged in some form of volunteerism. Bok also holds the distinction of being the first non-alumnus to be named Harvard president, and the only person in modern history to serve that office twice when, after 15 years away from the presidency, he returned.

Lawyer, educator, 25th president of Harvard University (1971-1991) and seventh dean of the Harvard Law School (1968-1971), Bok’s interests extend beyond the ivory tower and practice of law. His studies span subjects as disparate as empirical research on what makes people happy and its implications for public policy, to the effects of the marketplace on universities, as well to the ability of the U.S. government to cope with the nation’s domestic problems. 

He is the author of many acclaimed books including The Politics of Happiness: What Governments Can Learn from the New Research on Well-Being (2010), Our Underachieving Colleges: A Candid Look at How Much Students Learn and Why They Should be Learning More (2006), and Universities in the Marketplace: The Commercialization of Higher Education (2003).

The lecture is presented by the UC San Diego Council of Provosts in partnership with the Helen Edison Lecture Series.

In accordance with a major gift from a late philanthropist, the Helen Edison Lecture Series presents ongoing free public lectures on issues that advance humanitarian purposes and objectives. Attended annually by thousands, speakers include former Vice President Al Gore,  Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus, double Pulitzer Prize winner Nicholas Kristof, Nobel Prize in Literature winner Toni Morrison and Hispanic dramatist Luis Valdez, just to name a few.

Lecture guests should enter campus at Gilman Drive. Parking is $4 after 4:30 pm in the Gilman Parking Structure. For additional information contact UC San Diego Extension’s Helen Edison Lecture Series at (858) 822-0510, email emunk@ucsd.edu or visit http://helenedison.ucsd.edu


Media Contact: Henry DeVries 858-534-9955 hdevries@ucsd.edu

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