(gentle music) (crowd applauding) – Good evening and welcome to Hancher Auditorium My name is John Keller and I have the privilege serving as the Associate Provost for Graduate Professional Education and Dean of the Graduate College at the University of Iowa Thank you all for joining us this evening in this outstanding facility as we celebrate the return of Secretary Skorton and Dr. Davison to the U of I campus Tonight, we gather to explore the relationship between the sciences and the liberal arts and to celebrate the vital role of graduate education in supporting these endeavors While our esteemed guests will be your guide through many of the intersections this evening, through the arts, through research, through medicine, technology, and education, I hope you’ll also let me take a moment to savor and share with you the role that graduate education plays in this puzzle Graduate students at the University of Iowa and at universities across the country are currently pushing the boundaries of disciplinary knowledge and helping society move forward Drawn to graduate school because of their interest in complex, multi-dimensional problems, graduate students work at the edges of society’s knowledge They pave the way for many of the inter-disciplinary relationships, fresh perspectives, and new learning that you will hear about tonight For that reason, we’d like to begin our evening with a brief interlude and an opportunity for you to hear from some of our current University of Iowa students Three students and two faculty members that I’ll introduce to you tonight, a biomedical engineer making computer models of surgeries to improve outcomes, a social worker using technology to combat teen suicide, and musicians weaving ingenious jazz riffs, represent just a small piece of the innovation in graduate education at our institution Following these short performances, it’ll be my privilege to introduce our honorable guest, the 13th Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, Dr. David J. Skorton Our first presentations tonight feature the winners of our recent three-minute thesis competition This competition charges and challenges students with effectively explaining their research in only three minutes, using language that’s appropriate to a non-specialist audience, using only one, single slide They’re not allowed to use any other props or any other resources (audience laughing) Now, I can tell you, while all the students make this look pretty easy, I assure you that it’s much harder than it looks Our first student, Kirsten Stoner, is a fourth-year graduate student in the Department of Biomedical Engineering, under the mentorship of Professor Nicole Grossland She completed her bachelor’s degree in mechanical and aerospace engineering and master’s degree in biomedical engineering at Cornell University Her research focuses on utilizing finite element modeling of the neck and the spinal cord to better understand spinal cord mechanics in diseased and operated states Now, her research, her presentation tonight is appropriate in titled, A Pain in the Neck: Modeling Cervical Myelopathy Kirsten (crowd applauding) – Thank you, Dean Keller So as Dean Keller said, I’m Kirsten Stoner, I’m a biomedical engineering student, a PhD student in Dr Nicole Grossman’s lab So Iowa City is a big football town, and I’m sure that many of you Peyton Manning fans have semi-sweet feelings about his retirement Well, I study the same neck injury that led to Peyton Manning’s retirement It’s called cervical myelopathy and it’s the most common form of spinal cord injury It occurs when a patient’s spinal cord is compressed as they move their head back and forth by either bony or soft tissue On the MRI behind me,

we can see a patient with cervical myelopathy On the left, his head is at a straight, neutral position, and on the right, his head is tilted backwards What you can see is how thin this patient’s spinal cord becomes as he tilts his head and neck backwards Cervical myelopathy is extremely debilitating First, these patients feel pains in their neck, and then they lose feeling in their hands, and then, as the injury progresses, they can actually lose their ability to walk So what’s this means is that patients can’t get around easily or do simple tasks like buttoning their shirts The only way to stop the progression of this injury is to have a surgery that decompresses the spinal cord, but the problem is that there are multiple different surgeries a patient could have and no one really understands how each of these surgery techniques affects spinal cord compression So this means that sometimes, just like in Peyton Manning’s case, the first surgery doesn’t work well, and these patients don’t have relief of their symptoms, so this means they might have to go back for a second, third, or even fourth surgery, and each of these surgeries is extremely dangerous and very expensive for the patients But what if we could know beforehand, before the surgery happens, how each of these surgical techniques affects spinal cord compression? That’s exactly what my research focuses on I create computer models of cervical myelopathy that mimics how the spinal cord is compressed during daily motion You can see on the image of the computer model how it replicated the spinal cord compression as the neck is tilted backwards So then what I can do is incorporate those different surgical techniques into this model to determine which is actually best at decompressing the spinal cord This allows surgeons to know before they ever do a surgery which is actually best at decompressing the spinal cord, and using a surgery that has the best predicted outcomes means that patients are most likely to get relief with their first surgery, reducing the need for subsequent, risky surgeries Thank you very much (crowd applauding) – Thank you, Kirsten And I think you can understand that I’m always a little hesitant to take the mike after any of our students present their work, and I’m certainly grateful that I’m not in competition with them So next we will hear from Sarah Knox, and Sarah is a second-year master’s student in social work here at the University where she previously completed a bachelor’s degree in economics Since 2007, Sarah has volunteered on the crisis hotline and worked as a trainer of suicide intervention skills at the crisis center here in Johnson County Her research focuses on using online crisis intervention techniques and how online counselors can best help individuals who use that resource The title of Sarah’s presentation is, How Helpful are Specific Techniques in Online Counseling? Sarah (crowd applauding) – Statistics show that one in 20 adults thinks about suicide in a given year When we look at teenagers specifically, that number rises to three out of 20 Try to picture that, a classroom of 25 to 30 high school students, on average, four of those students is thinking about suicide This is a major problem Historically, teenagers have, are very reticent to call crisis hotlines However, in the last five years, a number of services have evolved online, and teenagers have been reaching out to those So I’m Sarah Knox, and my focus is on crisis intervention and suicide intervention CrisisChat specifically holds a very dear place in my heart CrisisChat allows people to get on the Internet and type, anonymously, messages back and forth with a trained volunteer The median age of visitors on CrisisChat is 21, which means half of our visitors are under the age of 21, so we’re exactly hitting that target of people who most needed the help Something that’s very exciting about this from a research standpoint is that we have the transcripts

of everything that the visitor says and the helper says to them We also ask them their mood at the beginning of the conversation and then we ask the same question at the end of the conversation So this allows us to look at the change that happened as well as the specific things that were said to the person over the course of that conversation, to see what had the biggest cause in improving that person’s mood So that, by itself, is very exciting, but there’s actually more as well That initial survey, when the person comes onto CrisisChat, also asks their age and their primary concern So you may be able to imagine that somebody who’s 30 years old might need to be spoken to in a different way than somebody who’s 13 years old Somebody who’s having a financial crisis may need a different kind of help than somebody who has an eating disorder So I’ve been working with the people at the crisis center of Johnson County to come up with categories that we can put the things that helpers say into, things like empathy, advice, we’re actually even counting emoticons (audience laughing) And we’re going to see what helps us most build that rapport with people, what helps us most calm people down so they feel less suicidal at the end of that conversation, and our hope is that we can use this information to tailor training at crisis centers to the type of people that you’re talking to and that, in the end, this is going to help us to save even more lives Thank you (audience applauding) – Told you they were awesome (audience laughing) Thank you, Sarah, and Sarah’s work is a perfect example of students working to address critically important issues in our society, and in our community So the three-minute thesis competition, let me tell you a little bit more about that, it featured 16 finalists and almost 50 individuals that applied for the competition this year, and all their competition videos are archived on our website if you would like to learn more about their work Now I’m excited to introduce three highly accomplished Iowa musicians Blake Shaw is a double-bassist, composer, occasional vocalist, band leader, and private lesson teacher here in Iowa City Blake received his bachelor of musics degree in classical double-bass performance at Iowa and is set to finish his master of arts degree in jazz performance this upcoming May Dr. Damani Phillips is a native of Pontiac, Michigan, where he began playing at the age of 10 years old He currently serves as an assistant professor of jazz studies and African American studies at the University of Iowa, where he teaches applied jazz saxophone, directs jazz combos, and teaches courses in African American music, jazz education, and improvisation He has earned a bachelor and master’s of music degrees from De Paul University and the University of Kentucky in classical saxophone, and a second master’s degree of music in jazz studies from Wayne State University Damani completed his doctorate of musical arts degree in jazz studies at the University of Colorado in Boulder Steve Grismore has been playing the guitar for almost 50 years After receiving his bachelor of music and composition and master of arts and music theory from the University of Iowa, he directed jazz studies from the U of I from 1990 to 1993, where he is now a full-time jazz instructor Steve has a long history of jazz education throughout the state, teaching at both the high school and college levels Now, Steve helped co-found the Iowa City Jazz Festival, which I’m sure many of you are familiar with, and was named executive director of the Festival in 1999 and the musical director of the Festival in 2010 Please join me in welcoming Blake, Damani, and Steve to the stage (crowd applauding) – Good evening, everybody I’m very happy to say, after being a student of the University of Iowa since 2010, I’ve made it to Hancher (crowd laughing and applauding) Okay To me, art is the most human thing that I can do and I’m really, really honored to share that experience with people like this, Dr. Damani Phillips and Professor Grismore,

and also to just share that gift with you We’re going to play a tune called Tricotism by a bassist named Oscar Pettiford Unfortunately, Oscar fell in the category of genius jazz musicians who left us too soon He passed away in 1960 This tune is a little difficult, or tricky, Tricotism, as they say, because the bass plays the melody along with the saxophone player So here’s Tricotism by Oscar Pettiford One, two, three, four (“Tricotism” by Oscar Pettiford) (crowd applauding) (crowd applauding) (crowd applauding) (crowd applauding)

– Thank you, I’m going to save this – So thank you, Blake, Damani, and Steve for that amazing performance this evening Your musical talents just radiated here in the new Hancher And thanks again to Kirsten and to Sarah for their presentations Also, I’d be remiss if I didn’t thank all of you for indulging me in this brief showcase of graduate work here at the University of Iowa I’m so proud of the innovative work that’s taking place on this campus and I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to share a little bit of it with you tonight Now it’s my distinct privilege to introduce Dr. Javid Day Skorton, David J. Skorton, I keep doing that, (crowd laughing) and I’m not sure why I’m sure he’ll have something to say about that too (crowd laughing) He’s the 13th Secretary of the Smithsonian Institute and he assumed this position in July 1 of 2015 As Secretary, Dr. Skorton oversees 19 museums, 21 libraries, the National Zoo, numerous research centers, and several education units and centers The Smithsonian Institution is the world’s largest museum, education, and research complex It’s involved in research and activities in more than 100 countries, and is exploring its first international gallery presence in London There are 216 Smithsonian affiliate museums throughout the country, and the Institution operates an extensive traveling exhibition program As Secretary, Dr. Skorton is responsible for an annual budget of close to $1.5 billion, he’s responsible for over 6,500 employees, 6,300 volunteers, and 7,000 digital volunteers Dr. Skorton, a board-certified cardiologist, began his career here at Iowa, holding joint appointments as a professor of internal medicine, electrical and computer engineering, and biomedical engineering He also served as Vice President for Research and for Vice President for External Relations before becoming the 19th President of the University of Iowa in 2003 through 2006 He then went on to become the 12th President of Cornell University from 2006 to 2015 And Dr. Skorton is the first physician to lead the Smithsonian He’s an ardent and nationally recognized supporter of the arts and humanities, and Dr. Skorton has called for a national dialogue to emphasize the importance of funding for these disciplines He’s an avid musician who plays the flute and the saxophone and he worked as a musician in the Chicago area and co-hosted As Night Falls Latin Jazz, a weekly program on the University of Iowa’s public FM radio station, KRUI You may remember some of those performances Additionally, Dr. Skorton is a proponent of the business-university partnership He has been active in innovation and economic development at the state and the national levels to bring business and universities together toward diversifying regional economies Since 1980, he has been part of a cohort of physicians around the world who specialize in caring for adolescents and adults with congenital heart disease At the University of Iowa, he helped co-found the University’s Adolescent and Adult Congenital Heart Disease Clinic, and he also helped found the Society for Adult Congenital Cardiac Disease, now the International for Society for Adult and Congenital Heart Disease Dr. Skorton was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, now referred to as the National Academy of Medicine, and is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences He is currently a distinguished professor at Georgetown University And Dr. Skorton earned his bachelor’s degrees in psychology in 1970, and his medical degree in 1974, both from Northwestern University He’s married to Robin L. Davison, former professor of anatomy and cell biology and radiation oncology here at the University of Iowa Dr. Davison is still very active in her research and is currently the Andrew Dixon White professor of molecular physiology at Cornell University

She’s also an adjunct professor of medicine at Georgetown University Please join me in welcoming the 13th Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, Dr. Javid Day Skorton (crowd laughing) I did it again! (crowd applauding) (crowd cheering) – Thank you Thank you, that wraps up our talk for tonight We’ll get on to the Q-and-A Thank you, John, for that wonderful introduction, such as it was (crowd laughing) And most importantly, for inviting Robin and me back to Iowa City and the University of Iowa, and John, I also thank you, over the years and decades, for being such a good friend and colleague, not only of mine but of everyone, and being such a fantastic leader for this world-beating graduate college, John, thank you (crowd applauding) President and Mrs. Harold, friends, colleagues, it’s good to be back (crowd applauding) I lived here and was at the University of Iowa longer than I’ve been anywhere else In fact, my talk tonight stems nearly entirely from my experiences here at the U of I The U of I is an exemplar of valuing the entire range of scholarly disciplines, from astrophysics to poetry The value of combining STEM and the liberal arts, including the arts, humanities, and social sciences, has had a major influence on my life, as an educator, an administrator, and as a student, which, for me, is a joyful lifetime profession And I know that being back here also brings fond memories back to Robin She spent her entire early academic career here, from her bachelor’s degree in psychology to her master’s and a PhD, to a post-doctoral fellowship at the Cardiovascular Research Institute and the Center for Hypertension Genomics, and then she joined the University of Iowa faculty and taught neuroscience and cardiovascular physiology and genomics to medical, dental, and graduate students while pursuing her groundbreaking research Iowa girl from Cedar Rapids makes good (crowd applauding) Many of the experiences I recall most fondly from my U of I years relate to the terrific mentors whom I was privileged to know Let’s start with Francois Abboud, who took a gamble to hire me and was a supportive mentor and colleague and friend And then there was Melvin Marcus My first grant proposal was submitted to Mel for an internal review, and his very succinct response, don’t like it, don’t like it at all (crowd laughing) Every student should have the benefit of such straightforward counsel How much I miss the late Mel Marcus And Richard and Linda Kerber Now that’s University of Iowa royalty Dick taught me much of what I know about echocardiography and cardiac physiology, and I miss him so dearly Linda taught me how much one can learn from studying the past and about the importance of precise and thoughtful use of language Alan Mark, my first boss in the cardiology division of the Department of Medicine And Frank Conroy As many of you know, Frank headed the writer’s workshop with passion and distinction He taught me so much about literature and life and music We jammed together, performing in a group that included such luminaries as John Rapson and Dan Moore He referred to our motley crew in his wonderful and occasionally acerbic way as Close Enough And folks, he wasn’t talking about Rapson and Moore, he was talking about me (crowd laughing) Frank’s passions were his family, literature,

jazz, and the piano, I miss him as well Larry Mahoney, my longtime practice partner and mentor, one of the greatest things that has happened to pediatric cardiology, ever And Steve Flagel, Steve ostensibly worked for me, but in fact taught me a great deal about digital technology and more important the discipline needed to do first-rate research And there were many more at the University of Iowa who guided me along the way, through counsel and by their own life examples The beautiful thing, you know, about mentoring is that it is as much about personal growth as it is about intellectual, academic, and professional growth It enriches a balanced education through real-life experiences, and it can give people, particularly young people, the confidence and wisdom to navigate the ups and downs of this life as it evolves Benjamin Franklin said, “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, “involve me and I learn.” And good advice for all of us can always be found in the writings of Doctor Seuss “Think left and think right and think low and think high, “oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try.” Okay, quotes from Ben Franklin and Doctor Seuss, enough Robin and I don’t get back to Iowa City as often as we would like but today, we enjoyed enormously, and in fact were really blown away, while touring three of the magnificent buildings that opened just a few months ago The visual arts building is stunning Any university or community would be proud to boast such an architectural gem, but it is especially impressive in this setting No wonder it has won Interior Design best of the year award, in Architect’s Newspaper, building of the year award It was a pleasure to see students, professors, and artists learning from and with each other, exercising their creativity that will result in inspiring works of art Voxman Music Hall was equally exciting Its concert hall provides students with an extraordinary setting to learn the fine art of performing Blake, Damani, and Steve, thank you again for the superb performance earlier What a group, what a campus, what a music program (crowd applauding) And Hancher Auditorium brings back so many memories This beautiful facility pays homage to its predecessor but in a modern and beautiful way that will serve the university community and the people of Iowa with a compelling array of programming for many generations to come Yes, the misfortune of the flood coupled with generations of accumulated wisdom allowed you, with a clean slate, to develop what is certainly one of the most impressive, functional, and inspiring performing arts centers anywhere While equally prioritizing the STEM disciplines, including the health science campus, as well as the arts and the humanities, the University of Iowa master plan exemplifies the longstanding tradition of a balanced education here in Iowa City In 1922, as you know, the University began to accept creative work in lieu of theses for graduate degrees in the fine and performing arts and was first to offer a master’s degree in the writer’s workshop beginning in 1936 Iowa was a pioneer in recognizing the role of creativity and the imagination play in all learning Emily Dickinson captured the essence of this relationship when she wrote the possible’s slow fuse is lit by the imagination The brilliant career of Stamatios Krimigis demonstrates this connection Tom, who received his MS here studying under James Van Allen, was awarded the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum’s Lifetime Achievement trophy in 2015 for contributing extensively to our knowledge of the solar system Reflecting on his research of the universe, Tom recently said, “If I could go anywhere “in the solar system, I would go to Europa, “and sit on the ice and look at the majesty of the planet “Jupiter and the volcanoes of Io in the distance.” Exploring space is the frontier for this century and this generation In terms of challenging our imaginations and answering those fundamental questions of are we alone and how did life evolve? There’s no other way to address those

Incidentally, James Van Allen himself won the Smithsonian Trophy for Lifetime Achievement in 2006 At age 92, he was not able to accept his award in person at the ceremony but spoke to the audience via telephone from Iowa City Few in that audience that day will ever forget his typically thoughtful and candid comments I have spent a professional lifetime working in the biomedical sciences and clinical medicine Of course, I recognize and I celebrate the extraordinary contributions of science to our lives, our prosperity, and the promise of our future But a life in science has taught me that science will not be enough to solve the world’s thorniest challenges For that, we need the broad and deep value of the liberal arts for two overriding reasons They hold inherent value as the best way to understand ourselves, our world, and what it means to be fully human, and they provide practical contributions to solving our most difficult and persistent problems The theme of my talk today is that STEM and the arts, humanities, and social sciences actually nourish each other Faculty here at the University of Iowa taught me long ago that there is great value in integrating education in these seemingly disparate sets of disciplines Decades later, this assertion of a reciprocal and mutual benefits of the two cultures is becoming more widely recognized I have the honor of chairing a National Academy study seeking to examine the evidence behind such an assertion and to see if such integration actually improves educational and career outcomes Our committee is in the data gathering phase and we will have conclusions and recommendations to share with you in coming months But there are some interesting observations already to consider Michigan State University professor of physiology and MacArthur fellow Robert Root-Bernstein made interesting observations about creativity in science-related professions He found that Nobel laureate scientists are more likely to be involved in the arts and humanities than their non-laureate colleagues Twice as many are likely to be musicians, at least seven times more likely to be sculptors, and at least 12 times more likely to write poetry Rita Dove, who received her MFA here at the University of Iowa, and later became poet laureate of the United States, described the link between imagination and scientific achievement: “Without imagination, we can go nowhere, “and imagination is not restricted to the arts “Every scientist I have met who has been a success “has had to imagine.” Albert Einstein may have been the most famous example of someone whose creativity in science was spurred in part by the arts and humanities It is said that while working on his general theory of relativity, he often played a Mozart sonata on his violin to get the creative juices flowing Einstein once noted: “The theory of relativity occurred “to me by intuition, “and music is the driving force behind this intuition.” Nearly 40 million Americans in the labor force create for a living in some capacity Professor and author Richard Florida has dubbed them the creative class According to a comprehensive survey by Americans for the Arts, the arts generated over $135 billion of direct economic activity in 2010 and created more than four million full-time jobs, and according to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, nearly four million additional jobs were held by people employed in the humanities sector Many people, of course, accept the idea that the arts and humanities can create jobs or complement math and science in practical ways, but the arts and the humanities are enormously more than servants to the sciences They enrich us in profound ways, they are essential to who we are as individuals, and as fellow inhabitants of a shared and fragile world There is a reason we hang art on our walls, venture out to hear live music, visit museums, and watch theatrical productions There is a reason we connect so strongly with the words of Shakespeare, Angelou, and Springsteen The reason is that we learn fundamental truths about ourselves and others from the arts and humanities For as long as we have been able, humans have used philosophy, literature,

religion, art, music, history, and languages to understand and interpret a confusing world The arts, humanities, and social sciences improve our ability to think critically and analyze and synthesize and communicate New York Times columnist David Brooks wrote: “If the study of the conscious mind “highlights the importance of reason and analysis, “study of the unconscious mind “highlights the importance of passions and perception.” Mr. Brooks served with me and many others on the American Academy of Arts and Sciences Commission on the Humanities and the Social Sciences Our report, Heart of the Matter, recommends three major goals for balancing the curriculum in the schools of America They are: educate Americans in the knowledge, skills, and understanding they will need to thrive in a 21st-century democracy, foster a society that is innovative, competitive, and strong, and equip the nation for leadership in an interconnected world In delivering the John and Mary Lou Lehoczky Lecture on the Humanities and Social Sciences at Carnegie Mellon, former Supreme Court Justice David Souter, another member of our commission, said, “What the humanities and social sciences have to teach us “is the variety of truth, the provisional nature “of conclusions, the sources of illumination “from people of other backgrounds and other perspectives,” he said, “and the magic that can occur “when they are combined.” The magic, Justice Souter describes, occurs when students are given the tools, assets, and resources to stretch their imaginations, consider other viewpoints, and embrace new and enlightening experiences Our educational activities at the Smithsonian are based in part on the magic of combining art and artifacts with the stories they represent Often, when I visit a gallery on my own, I observe young people, say, on a field trip You can actually see when the spark occurs, when the young person realizes the meaning of an exhibition or object, and relates directly to it When young people are inspired, they connect the present experience with a possible future A five-year-old girl was asked recently what she had learned on her visit to the National Air and Space Museum She replied, “I learned that I want to be an astronaut.” The magic does not end when young people reach high school or college Drew Gilpin Faust, President of Harvard University, said: “Look to the past to help create the future “Look to science and to poetry “Combine innovation and interpretation “We need the best of both, “and it is universities that best provide them.” When I was teaching clinical bedside medicine, I often encouraged my medical students to read literature, often, the works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, to hone their medical diagnostic abilities Doyle, as you may know, was a physician, and the scientific method and its application to medical diagnosis, was subtly represented in those works as crime solving Other instructors use art Harvard medical students take a course called Training the Eye that includes studying paintings at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum In addition to instilling empathy, the program emphasizes the role creativity plays in scientific observation The integration of science and the humanities has also been a hallmark of the Smithsonian, which, by the way, was established in 1846, just several months before the University of Iowa The Smithsonian is most famous, of course, for the treasures we hold, 154 million artifacts, specimens, and works of art A friend of Robin and mine summarized the Smithsonian’s collections in just four words: everything under the sun (crowd laughing) But it is the research and scholarship and creative activity conducted by Smithsonian scientists and curators and art and cultural historians and anthropologists and other scholars that provides the foundation for everything we do at the Smithsonian It is through programs and exhibitions that the Smithsonian seeks to engage and inspire over 20 million people who visit our museums and the National Zoo annually The integration of the arts, humanities, and the STEM subjects occurs naturally through the exhibition development process which combines art and design with content

One of our objectives is to make exhibitions more relevant and thought-provoking to all Americans and to our valued and most welcomed international visitors A recent exhibition, for example, was entitled the Art of the Koran, and it was at the Freer Sackler museums This exhibition featured 60 of the rarest religious artifacts ever assembled from Afghanistan to Turkey Most of them had never traveled outside Turkey It offered fascinating historical, cultural, and religious context, while interpreting the manuscripts as compelling and beautiful works of art At a time when cultural differences are provoking division and conflict, the exhibition opened the door to understanding The feedback we received from visitors was gratifying In September, we opened the National Museum of African American History and Culture Its exhibitions, created under the brilliant leadership of Director Lonnie Bunch, comprise an eloquent and powerful narrative central to all of our national identity Since its opening, the museum has drawn capacity crowds that already number over a million since September and is completely booked well into the future The social and political discord we hear about in the news every day reminds us that racism is not a thing of the past, but we hope this museum will help us advance public conversation and somehow help our country begin to heal Among the many stories told in the National Museum of African American History and Culture is the story of Dr. William Montague Cobb An anthropologist, Dr. Cobb undertook extensive research, including demographic analysis, to disprove the insidious myth that African Americans were somehow intellectually inferior We tell this story through the scientific instruments that Dr. Cobb used in his experiments For adults, especially those for whom this museum attempts to fulfill lifelong hopes, the story of Dr. Cobb resonates and instills pride For children, it emphasizes the value of science, to us individually, and to humanity Dr. Cobb was an activist who also served as president for the NAACP When I arrived at the Smithsonian, I was most familiar with the museums and the huge public interface they enabled, but I was surprised by the amount of research underway and we’re developing some activities to share more of it with the public The sharing of the fruits of research and perhaps more important the process of research is sorely needed today when the enormous lack of trust of the public in so many types of institutions extends, unfortunately, to the sciences In fields from vaccination to climate change, carefully wrought scientific consensus is rejected in some quarters Next month, over Earth Day weekend, we at the Smithsonian will hold a three day Earth Optimism Summit that will focus on positive efforts to mitigate the challenges facing our planet Presenters and program participants will include scientists and environmentalists and artists and media and philanthropists and civic leaders and developers and other experts The summit recognizes that healing our planet will not come about through the work of scientists alone, but as a collective effort by people from many professions, nationalities, cultural backgrounds, all motivated by common beliefs and aspirations This summit and other Smithsonian programs underscore the value of a balanced approach to learning We are developing plans to increase the impact of our national and international reach to create platforms for Smithsonian scholars and their partners in the great universities to make their voices heard and engage others in conversations about matters of importance to our world We hope to build on our research activity in so many countries and are exploring, as Dr. Keller said, our first exhibition space outside the US in conjunction with the Victorian Albert Museum in London One approach to extending reach beyond the walls of a museum or any university, of course, is through the use of digital technology We began digitization of our collections 40 years ago, greatly accelerated recently, and this democratization of the collections will expose people around the world to the treasures we hold in trust for the American people

And we are placing a stronger and stronger emphasis on the arts to demonstrate the power and impact that visual, performing, and other art forms have on our lives Throughout my life, professionally and personally, I have benefited from having interests and friends and mentors in a broad range of areas, and was encouraged by my parents and teachers to pursue both scientific and artistic interests, and I have been fortunate to find myself in academic environments, UCLA, Northwestern, the U of I, Cornell, and now the Smithsonian, that foster a balanced approach and acknowledge the benefits of humanities studies in making us better thinkers and better citizens and ultimately better people Now, understandably, many parents and teachers and boards of education and elected officials believe that the best interest in students at all grade levels and of our country are better served by focusing predominantly on the STEM disciplines, but as an individual, an educator, I have seen and experienced the benefits of an integrated education, and I have learned in listening to writers, artists, philosophers, and other humanists, that we are at risk as a people if we do not acknowledge and advocate and work hard to ensure that STEM studies and liberal arts continue to be emphasized as enhancing and nourishing one another Our world, of course, faces daunting challenges Environmental issues, social conflict, economic insecurity, and closer to home, we live in a country starkly divided Differences in our political views, religious beliefs, ethnic backgrounds, and economic status are widespread, but for all the challenges that we face, the 21st century has also brought unprecedented opportunities, particularly in the ways we communicate and interact According to Manuel Castells, professor and the Wallis Annenberg Chair in Communication, Tech, and Society at the University of Southern California, we live in a world in which humankind is almost entirely connected Rather than promote isolation and withdrawal from society, he believes, the Internet increases sociability, civic engagement, and the intensity of family and friendship relationships in all cultures Now, the challenges and issues human beings face on a global scale, in our nation, and in our communities can be mitigated through the bonding of people and groups and the exchange of ideas that are done, of course, optimally person-to-person, but that technology also can support The evolving development of technology itself offers ample evidence of the symbiotic relationship between STEM and the humanities disciplines There are countless examples as far back as the 19th century of visionaries, inventors, and innovators who have relied on science, technology, the arts, and design to imagine and advance the development of computers and technology, and still do Shortly before his death, Steve Jobs said, “Technology alone is not enough “It’s technology married with liberal arts, “married with the humanities, that yields us the result “that makes our hearts sing.” In the classrooms, labs, and halls of the University of Iowa and the galleries and research areas of the Smithsonian, science, tech, the arts, and humanities coexist Most of us accept and embrace an integrated approach to learning, but for others, there is skepticism, particularly with regard to the value of an education broadened with the liberal arts subjects Too often, the humanities and the arts are relegated to a secondary role, especially when public money is at stake in local, state, and federal budgets What can we do as students and citizens to promote the value of a balanced education? And most of all, what can we do to embrace the richness of a full and examined life? As advocates, we can argue for the benefits of a liberal education, a sense of social responsibility, open-mindedness, and interest in other cultures, as well as practical skills in communication, problem solving, and the ability to apply knowledge in our lives and careers We can express our support for libraries, museums, live performances, and cultural activities In our own day-to-day lives, we can practice the habits and embrace the pursuits that humanities teach us We can read even more Reading requires our full attention

It stimulates our thought processes and encourages us all to come up with new ideas Reading inspires creativity It can motivate us Reading triggers feelings We can listen to others, particularly those of a different perspective I recently heard about a young woman who hosted a dinner in her home for four people who voted for President Trump and four who voted for Secretary Clinton She came up with the idea for the dinner to which she invited people she did not know the morning after the election Opening the door to different perspectives was an act of courage and curiosity, qualities inspired by humanistic beliefs We can make time for reflection and thought Exposure to liberal arts helps us consider and understand the human experience, yes, but we need to give ourselves time to gather and process our thoughts despite the press and the seduction of the very technology that I was lauding a few minutes ago Make time to live in the present moment and take yourself a leisurely walk along the Iowa River Avail yourself of cultural opportunities Both the Smithsonian and the University of Iowa offer exhibitions to explore, works of art to study, and performances to enjoy Sometimes we don’t realize how valued these activities are to us until we almost lose them Being here tonight, in this gorgeously reimagined auditorium, we are reminded of a poem by Jim Galvin of the Writer’s Workshop It’s called Bringing Down the House When they tore down the auditorium, the facade went first, rebar snarling out like a nest of centipedes When they tore down the auditorium, excavators and backhoes roamed like sci-fi mantises, munching with hydraulic jaws as they hunted and gathered and devoured When they tore down the auditorium, percussive wrecking balls kept time As I thought of years of arts performing magics, I saw Baryshnikov twice, heard Pavarotti, Marsalis, and Ma, heard Bobby McFerrin, Bernstein, the Kronos Quartet, the stage was a realm of light, sound, and dance, applause came in tsunamis, all in Iowa City, Iowa Then came the real flood Mud took the stage, mold took a curtain call They tore down the auditorium but I remember Wynton Marsalis gave a master class to three or four Iowa high school white bread jazz combos When Marsalis walked in, they throttled their horns and saxophones, and who could blame them? They jammed He taught them how to listen to each other and respond Did you hear the B-flat I played, and why didn’t you do something about it? And you can’t get up on a stage and then act like you don’t belong here He took questions, they had a few shy ones, then one girl whose parents probably couldn’t afford that night’s performance asked the best question ever Would you play something for us? By way of an answer, he laid down an impossible Dizzy Gillespie riff A stunned silence forestalled the applause, a silence such as that which over-awes the din of tearing down the auditorium Robin and I are thrilled to be back in the beautiful and reborn Hancher Auditorium, and we thank you for bringing us back in the family Thank you (crowd applauding) Why wreck a nice, long, dry speech with a boring Q-and-A? Why do that? (crowd laughing) – I thought I was asking the questions – [David] You’re paying the hotel room, so go, buddy – I tell you David, thanks again for being here tonight, and it’s just wonderful to have you and Robin back with us We’ve been looking forward to your visit for quite some time, as you know, but we never could have predicted that, just how important and timely your words would be, so I thought you and I could take a moment to chat – Well, let me just say one more thing before we get onto whatever terrible stuff you’re

going to try to do to me in front of these nice people This means more to Robin and me than we can possibly tell you, and today has reminded us again just a handful of the many reasons why this town, this state, and this university mean so much to us, so it’s great to be here And since we’re getting along so well, let’s just call it a day, drop these microphones, (crowd laughing) and get out of here – No, we’re getting our money’s worth out of you, sorry – Okay, wow, that really hurts – So I guess one of the first and foremost questions on everybody’s mind including ours is, what do you miss the most about living in Iowa City? – Let’s see, now, Robin’s family is here, I would say the in-laws, I mean, the in-laws for sure (crowd laughing) I mean, (crowd applauding) yeah, okay You know, I’ve got to tell you, when it comes to in-laws, pal, you’ve got to get some points on the board, every chance, every chance So the in-laws are numbers one through 10 I’d say there’s a certain feeling, there’s a certain almost spiritual, intellectual ferment in this community You live here all the time, you don’t maybe notice it anymore, but Robin, it’s palpable, isn’t it? It’s palpable, you can feel the ferment, the intellectual drive of the place It’s really like no place we’ve ever been and we’ve been a lot of places I just miss the atmosphere, the environment, the ambience, the climate Not the weather climate, it sucks (crowd laughing) – So you and Robin clearly had a tremendous impact on this campus throughout your careers, and your leadership and your connections you made on this campus help form the foundation of many of the successes that we share today, including my own, and I often remind people that when you were the Vice President of Research, we interacted in a number of different capacities, and it was your encouragement that convinced me to pursue the position of the Graduate Dean, so thank you – Let me just interrupt you for a second here (crowd laughing) He’s painting this sort of, you know, fairy tale idea of our relationship (John and audience laughing) Let me just tell you, friends, how this really worked out – [John] Uh oh – John and I have been eating every day since we were kids, we’ve been eating every day, and we like it, we like eating, and we’ve gotten used to it, and we both, we sort of had a little weight issue, and so because we cared so much about each other, we each found out what the other one’s weakness was His was donuts, mine was M&Ms And yes, when the other one was out of the office, the friend would drop the other person’s weakness on his desk (crowd laughing) And so we went on an extensive weight loss regimen, which after one month, we declared victory because we only gained 10 pounds (crowd laughing) But anyway, as you were – Yes, sir So it’s been– – Remember? – Oh, I remember Yeah, we decided we were going to take walks to destress over lunch and that lasted one day (David and audience laughing) – [David] It was a heck of a walk, though – Yeah So it’s clearly fair to say that your leadership is characterized by your investment in personal relationships And in your recent campus interview in the Iowa Now, you highlighted the importance of universities created with people You shared some of that tonight Could you share a little bit about your perspective on leveraging the institution’s human resources to accomplish a shared goal, especially as you’ve emphasized the importance of listening to each other and learning about our different perspectives? – Okay, well, internally and externally, I’ll answer it two ways Internally, with respect, we can never do enough crosstalk, cross-fertilization, and communication across the campus Even a relatively compact campus and a relatively compact town, in my days at the University of Iowa, there was still the people you run into all the time, the people you ran into once in a while, the people you run into never And so anything that you can do under President Harold’s leadership and others to rethink how you run into each other, at the water cooler, so to speak, is very important for internal communication For external communication, we have to just break out of the idea that doing our work for each other, for our professional colleagues in whatever field, that that’s enough That’s necessary but not sufficient to remind a bruised country, bruised for decades, that we need to understand better what the sciences, arts, and humanities bring Hate to plug your wife but when Robin was here, she created a course called Survival Skills for a Research Career, you may remember that course – I remember – And the idea was to take people who were training intensively

in a scientific discipline, whatever that discipline might have been, and to bring to them wisdom and experience in areas that they would need for a successful research career beyond the enormous amount of knowledge they were trying to absorb in graduate school And what happened was, as I recall, the communications aspect of that, how to communicate difficult science to the public, how to communicate difficult science to general science colleagues who were not in your direct discipline, that was enormously popular, and not only did the grad students come, for whom she ostensibly developed the course, but I remember faculty coming from other departments because such a thing didn’t happen So internal emphasis on crosstalking, and external emphasis on learning how to communicate not instead of but beyond our scientific or artistic limits, I think those are the important ways – Tonight, in your presentation, you specifically highlighted the role that the faculty play at the core of the university So you and I came of an age a long time ago, when the role of the faculty was a little bit more of a solitary role How do you see the role of the faculty member now evolving into this interconnected and interdisciplinary world? – Yeah, such a great question I’ll thank you not to ask me great questions and put me in a spot like this in front of these people But okay, this is the last chance for this kind of thing, or I’m getting the donuts (John and audience laughing) Well, the interdisciplinarity, which, gosh, we talk about so much it’s like the biggest cliche imaginable, well, some cliches are there because they’re true, and so much of what we do is a team sport And I’ll tell you one example I saw today So thanks to you, we had this fabulous tour through Voxman, and there are all of these acoustically perfect and isolated spaces, where students and faculty can play their hearts out a few inches from each other but because of the technology and the thinking that went into the construction of the building, not interrupt or, you know, confuse what’s going on one area to another And in all of those areas, there’s an electronic connection possible, just literally by the push of a button or click of a mouse or whatever the heck it is where you can record to a central facility So in that one corner of the university, there is the collaboration between different aspects of music, and different aspects of engineering, different aspects of architecture, and all of those elements work together to produce this really, really magical place, and there’s many, many other examples of that Of course, in the sciences, the life sciences, the physical and mathematical sciences, perhaps with the exception of mathematical theory, they’re mostly team sports now, they’re mostly team sports So I would say that we are becoming increasingly interdisciplinary, again, when you get to a certain age, as you know, you like to preach, and nobody listens anymore but you feel better about it (crowd laughing) And I do remind us that, however much we develop team sports in these disciplines, it’s also important to take our own counsel and turn our phones off once in a while, turn our computers off once in a while, and just sort of think about what we’re doing – So how do we instill these principles in our graduate students who are going to become the future of our society? – Well, that’s a tough question because, you know, I’m not talking for you, but I’m talking for me Many of my friends and I didn’t do such a great job leaving the world for our kids and those of us who have grandkids So I’ve tried over the years really hard, and often not successfully, to try to draw out young people’s own solutions to problems rather than give them my ideas for solutions because so many of our ideas didn’t actually work out exactly as we hoped they would I’m reminded of my first book, which Steve Flate will remember, it was 1986, it was called Computer Imaging and Image Processing, edited with the University of Iowa professor Steve Collins It was a bit critical success (crowd laughing) The, I’m not sure why you’re laughing, but anyway, I remember one review in particular that said, everybody in the field should read this book, this groundbreaking work Well, let me tell you, nobody bought this puppy except my uncle Leo and my mom (crowd laughing) And my mom bought it because that was bragging rights, my uncle Leo bought it to hold a door open in his house (crowd laughing) And so based on this and many other experiences, I don’t think I have any particular wisdom to impart

in general to young people except for a process issue And the process issue I try to tell them about is that humility and understanding the possibility that one may be wrong no matter how heartfelt the conviction is one of the greatest tools we can learn in life because that humility and lack of over-confidence can pave the way for us turning on our receive mode and turning off our send mode long enough to learn something (crowd applauding) Now, that doesn’t go for married life (crowd laughing) For married life, the best way to go on for decades and remain healthy is for us only to have a receive mode, correct? (crowd laughing) – I’m not going there, my wife’s sitting out there – I’ll ask her later, I’ll ask her later – So David, you said that putting together a museum, a museum exhibition, naturally requires the union of arts and sciences, like we see at the Smithsonian So what’s this process like, and is that a model that we can use when we think about how to communicate and engage the public in our creative work and our research? – Well, it comes about through academic freedom A curator or a scientist deciding that a certain problem or possibility for communication, or an artist sitting in her studio decides that her view of the world, her perspective is a little different, or she notices something in our environment and our ambience that maybe somebody else didn’t notice, and the courage of bringing that work of art forward or curating from a wide ocean of such works of art is brought to the fore as a possibility Costs are estimated, funds are raised, space is sought, and then it’s brought out to the public What we could do better in the Smithsonian is once having done that, to find out how the public feels about it At the Smithsonian, because our 18 and our 19 museums are free and we’re open 364 days a year, when I heard that, by the way, I thought my birthday would be the off day, (crowd laughing) but Robin said, I think her exact quote was, “No, dodo, it’s Christmas.” So that’s a little name she calls me, sort of a pet name (crowd laughing) And anyway – [John] No, you’re not extinct, by the way (David and audience laughing) – Hang around, pal, it’ll happen, it’ll happen And so we, what were we talking about? (John and audience laughing) – Do you want me just to move on? – Yeah, okay, let’s move on – All right, so– – By the way, for those of you who are going to make a living droning like I do, if you don’t like a question, one, go off on a tangent, and number two, plead ignorance that you don’t remember what the question was Your questioner will be so aggravated at you that he’ll want to, or she will want to just shut you down and move to the next question, it works (crowd laughing) – Okay, so you mentioned that the Smithsonian has nearly 154 million pieces in its collection which you’re working to digitize and disseminate to the public So do you have a favorite piece? – People ask me that all the time and I actually do have a favorite piece And I have to digress for a moment and tell you about my dad (crowd laughing) My dad, what did I tell you, what did I tell you? My dad passed away now these 37 years next year, was an immigrant from what is now Belarus, from what was then either Russia or Poland, depending on the weekend, and he came to the United States via two and a half years in Cuba And when he came to the United States, he became a naturalized citizen, and he wanted to do everything Americans do So I was born in Milwaukee At age nine, we decided to move to the promised land, aka Los Angeles, and this was 18 months after the Brooklyn Dodgers moved to Chavez Ravine in LA We went there and my dad said, pal, he used to call me pal, he said, we’re going to do everything Americans do And I said, dad, I am an American, I was born here, and he said, he said something in a sort of a Russian accent to the effect that when he needed my opinion, he would give it to me, and we used to go to Chavez Ravine,

and he wanted to watch Sandy Koufax pitch, a religious Jewish gentleman who was a hell of a lefthander, who one time missed his World Series game because it fell on Yom Kippur, you remember that – I remember that – And so my dad would say, on a non-Sabbath night, he would say, pal, let’s jump in the car, we’re going to go watch a Jewish lefthander strike out a lot of guys (crowd laughing) And so when I went to the Smithsonian, Robin and I were shown around all these backroom places and just amazing, just amazing things, they pulled out a Sandy Koufax mitt And I teared up, you know, and I said, can I look at it, they said, of course you can look at it, can I touch it, and they gave me a pair of white gloves and said, you can touch it, and the curator said, yeah, you’re the secretary, this is your artifact, and I said, may I put my hand in it, and he said, uh, no (crowd laughing) And I said, I said, well, let me just remind you, I am the secretary, and he said, a curator, analogy to a faculty, what faculty members tell when they speak truth to power, he said, that’s really cool, you can’t put your hand in this And so I think about that a lot, and a couple of days ago, Robin will have to remind me, I think it was two days ago, I gave the periodic Congressional testimony to a committee, an oversight committee, and they asked, you know, they love to see artifacts when you go to Congress and we brought a bunch of baseball things because, you know, opening day, and we brought Sandy Koufax’ mitt, and I looked at it again and so that’s my favorite artifact But when I’m at the Smithsonian, I’m surrounded by thousands of people who work there all the time, who have their own favorites I say, I love all my children (crowd laughing) – That’s why you’re in the position you’re in – I guess – So David, you left us, through your remark tonight, with four actionable pieces of advice to incorporate into our lives: read, listen, reflect, and avail ourselves to different cultural experiences So could you leave us tonight with a recommended reading or viewing or visiting list? – This is a pop fly, okay, this is a pop fly, not a line drive, but being here, this is easy note to end on Read anything written at the University of Iowa, read anything on a book put together with paper from the Iowa Center for the Book, see any performance at Hancher Auditorium, and you will be better than the day before – Cool (crowd applauding) So speaking of paper from the Center for the Book, if you go to Washington DC, you might want to observe the Charters of Freedom that are there, and one of our own faculty members, Tim Barrett, who is in the Center for the Book, was commissioned to make the paper, he’s an internationally famous paper maker, he was commissioned to make the paper that is behind the Charters of Freedom So when you go there and reflect on those documents, remember that that’s an Iowa product that’s underneath those charters – Can I just say one thing? I know you’re going to bring up this, and go on and on like you always do, (crowd laughing) but speaking of going on and on, I’ve just got to tell you this experience I ran into Tim here tonight, who was generous enough of spirit to come and say hi to Robin and me So I’m visiting the Library of Congress, not long after I got to Washington, and they were showing me down in the innards of the building the book conservators area, and they were showing me some book that they were just delicately, lovingly, putting back together again, and I said, you know, I’ve got a crazy question to ask you, to one of the conservators, she said, sure, anything, as she rolled her eyes, and I said, you know, I worked for many years and lived in a place that had a really fabulous Center for the Book, and before I could finish the sentence, she said, would you come over here? And she said, you mean this center, and she had a whole column of flat drawers marked UICB, for UI Center for the Book, where they were taking Tim Barrett’s papers and fixing books at the Library of Congress And, you know, that just made me just about cry Now, being a bureaucrat, I didn’t cry, I said, the only thing a bureaucrat can say, I taught Tim every damn thing he knows (audience laughing) You’ve got to do it, right? (crowd applauding) – And no, she didn’t let you touch that paper, either, probably – That’s right – So finally, David, you’ve often referred to the Smithsonian as the nation’s attic or whatever the one remark that you made tonight,

as I can’t remember off the top of my head, and Chuck Swanson, who is our executive director of Hancher refers to Hancher as the University of Iowa’s and the community’s living room It’s been such a special honor to welcome you back here to our campus living room tonight Thank you for sharing your insights and your inspiring vision with us tonight, and to the audience, thank you, everyone, for being here tonight and sharing in this celebration Thank you for your attendance tonight (crowd applauding)