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UIS lunchtime series will focus on the Mississippi River

August 20, 2007

Contact: Mary Caroline Mitchell, 217/206-7395, mmitc1@uis.edu

SPRINGFIELD – "Of Time and the Mississippi," a four-part Lunch and Learn Series, will be presented at the University of Illinois at Springfield beginning in September. Each program will meet from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the Public Affairs Center restaurant on the UIS campus. Participants may attend one or all of the programs; however reservations should be made at least one week in advance of the event.

Stretching nearly 2,500 miles from Minnesota to Louisiana, the Mississippi is the world's third largest river system. Its power and unpredictability have long challenged human efforts to manage its impact on surrounding communities and regional economies. The series will feature paired presentations on four themes related to the river.

UIS English Professor Emerita Judy Everson will moderate the discussions. Co-sponsors are the UIS Alumni SAGE Society, affiliated with the University of Illinois Alumni Association at UIS, and the UIS Colleges of Liberal Arts and Sciences and Public Affairs and Administration.

On Tuesday, September 11, "Of History and the Mississippi" will be presented by G. Cullom Davis, professor emeritus of History, and distinguished alumna Kathleen King. Davis will highlight the earthquakes of 1811-1812 and the great flood of 1927 as well as several other historic natural disasters along the river. King is recently retired as professor of English at Idaho State University.  While a student at UIS she wrote the novel Cricket Sings (Ohio University Press, 1983), about the pre-Columbian culture at Cahokia, which will form the basis of her remarks. 

The topic for Tuesday, September 18, will be "Of Time and Ecology of the Mississippi." Speakers will be Denise Keele, assistant professor of Environmental Studies, and Charles Schweighauser, professor emeritus of Astronomy/Physics, English, and Environmental Studies. Keele will focus on the flood of 1993, considering the effects of channelization, dredging, and levees as well as the implications of global warming. Schweighauser will analyze the 1973 flood -- the highest recorded since European settlement of the river valley -- and analyze how human actions may exacerbate or even trigger periodic floods. 

On Tuesday, September 25, the program will be "Of Time, Music, and Literature on the Mississippi," with presentations by Sharon Graf, associate professor of ethnomusicology and director of co-curricular music at UIS, and by Marcellus Leonard, associate professor of English. Graf will concentrate on the steamboat era and its contribution to American music. Leonard will read and discuss literature related to the Mississippi and to the Mississippi Delta Blues.

The final program, on Tuesday, October 2, will be "Of Time and Commerce on the Mississippi." Presenters will be distinguished alumnus Bill Lambrecht and Bill Siles, associate professor and chair of the History Department. Lambrecht is Washington bureau chief for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and the author of Big Muddy Blues.  He will review the controversial $3 billion construction project, now before Congress, that would double the size of the seven locks on the Mississippi and Illinois rivers. Siles will discuss how St. Louis' economic dependence on the river became a problem as railroads grew to be the preferred means of commercial transportation.

Reservations for individual sessions (includes buffet lunch) are $12 for Alumni Association members and guests, retired UIS faculty/staff, and current UIS students; or $15 for all others.

Reservations for the entire series made before August 31 are $42 for Alumni Association members and guests, retired UIS faculty/staff, and current UIS students; $50 for all others.

On Saturday, September 22, the Alumni Association will also sponsor a Lunch and Learn Tour of the Emiquon Project -- the Nature Conservancy's restoration of nearly 7,500 acres of farmland along the Illinois River to its natural floodplain state. UIS has established the Emiquon Field Station to study, research, and document the process.  Presentations and tours will be given by station director Michael Lemke, associate professor of Biology, and by representatives of the Nature Conservancy Illinois River Project.

Cost of the Emiquon tour (including lunch) is $30/person for Alumni Association members and guests, retired UIS faculty/staff, and current UIS students; $40 for all others. Reservations should be made no later than September 14.

For more information on either the Tuesday series or the Emiquon tour, contact the Alumni Association office at 217/206-7395 or by e-mail at alumni@uis.edu. Online registration is available at www.uiaa.org/spfld.



The University of Illinois at Springfield, one of three U of I campuses, is a small, public liberal arts university that offers 42 degree programs: 21 bachelorís, 20 masterís, and the Doctorate of Public Administration. UIS has a special mission in public affairs and service and is known for extraordinary internships, a wireless campus, extensive online offerings, and a commitment to teaching.

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