Former Virginia Gov. Wilder to keynote diversity summit and symposium, Jan. 29-30

Jan. 15, 2004

AUSTIN, Texas—L. Douglas Wilder, former governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia, will be the keynote speaker for a symposium that will explore ways that universities can better prepare students for life in a diverse society.

Wilder, the nation’s first African American governor since Reconstruction, will join delegations from seven universities, as well as key leaders from the private sector, the military and government.

“Educating for a Diverse America: A Summit and Symposium” will take place on the campus of The University of Texas at Austin on Jan. 29-30. The symposium is one of several events on the campus commemorating the50th anniversary of the landmark school desegregation case, Brown v. Boardof Education.

Educating for a Diverse America: A Summit and Symposium

Following Wilder’s keynote address at 9 a.m., Thursday, Jan. 29 in the Lyndon B. Johnson Auditorium, a presidential summit will convene including the presidents and chancellors from The University of California, Berkeley, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Arizona State University, The University of Texas at Austin, The University of Texas at El Paso and Prairie View A&M University, as well as the provost of The University of Michigan. All will be accompanied by delegations from their respective institutions. Also attending the symposium will be a delegation from The Ohio State University.

“Even in this heterogeneous America,” said Larry R. Faulkner, president of The University of Texas at Austin and host of the event, “virtually all of us grow up and spend most of our lives in a homogeneous culture. We do not have from experience a proper basis for understanding even the other principal cultures of America, much less those of the larger world. It should be no surprise that we are fearful, tentative and clumsy in our efforts to understand across cultural lines. This must change if America is to be prosperous, healthy and stable in the decades ahead.”

Faulkner added that his goal is that “every participant will leave the symposium with new ideas for action that can prepare us much more effectively for life in a diverse world.”

Other speakers include Sara Martinez Tucker, president and chief executive officer of the Hispanic Scholarship Fund based in San Francisco, and George C. Wright, newly appointed president of Prairie View A&M University.

The symposium was suggested by a third-year law student at The University ofTexas at Austin, A. Richard Garcia. “I proposed the event to bring togethera cross-section of national leaders for an innovative dialogue on how universitiescan help our society capitalize on the backgrounds, experiences and perspectivesof all people,” said Garcia.

The symposium begins with opening remarks by Faulkner at 8:45 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 29, and concludes with Martinez Tucker as the closing speaker from 11:30-noon on Friday, Jan. 30. For more information, and to register online, visit the Web site, Educating for a Diverse America: A Summit and Symposium.

Other participants include Roel Campos, commissioner of the Securities and Exchange Commission; Admiral Bob Inman USN (Ret.), managing partner, Gefinor Ventures and former chairman and CEO of Microelectronics and Computer Technology Corporation; Thurmond B. Woodard, vice president of global diversity, Dell; and Captain Robert Watts, USN, commandant of the Defense Equal Opportunity Operations Management Institute. Included among the university delegations is Robert M. Berdahl, chancellor of The University of California, Berkeley, who was president of The University of Texas at Austin from 1993-97.

For more information about the symposium call 512-471-1232. Additional information about other Brown v. Board of Education commemorative events is available by calling 512-232-4850.

For more information contact: Robert D. Meckel, Office of Public Affairs, 512-475-7847.