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Spring 2009


  • Venango Honors Program Open Forum: Thursday, January 22nd at 3:30 - 4:30 in Honors Lounge
  • 2009 Independent Film experience:"The Boy in Striped Pajamas," Saturday, January 24th at 7:30 P.M.
  • PTK Satellite Seminar Series Lecture: "The Geography of Bliss" by Eric Weine rMonday, January 26th at 5:30


  • Venango Honors Program Open Forum: Wednesday, February 18th at 3:30 - 4:30 in Honors Lounge
  • 2009 Independent Film experiences:    "The Kite Runner," Saturday, February 7th at 7:30 P.M. and "The Great Debaters, "Saturday, February 21st at 7:30 P.M. 
  • "Dare to Care" Lecture:"Exploring Non-Violence,"Monday, February 9th  12:00 P.M.- 2:00 P.M.

Arthur Romano is a certified nonviolence trainer and accomplished international educator who has worked globally to challenge violence and promote peace. Arthur focuses on social issues and helps non-profit agencies and schools design, plan and implement programs for a variety of causes. He most recently worked with university students and staff from more than fifty nations implementing key community building projects that challenged violence on campus and supported peaceful ways of living. Arthur has spoken several times at the United Nations and has collaborated with the Department of Public Information to promote the Gandhi-King Season for Nonviolence and the International Day of Peace. In 2004, he was awarded the prestigious Rotary World Peace Fellowship for the study of conflict resolution and he has conducted research on university level peace studies programs in India, Japan, the US and the UK.

  • Field Trip Experience: "Fiddler on the Roof," Saturday, February 21, at 2:00 P.M., Benedum Center, Pittsburgh, PA

"FIDDLER ON THE ROOF, The Tony Award®-winning musical that has captured the hearts of people all over the world with its universal appeal, embarks on its National Tour. In what is a huge theatrical feat, audiences will have a once in a lifetime opportunity to see the original Tevye, Chaim Topol, perform the role that made him legendary with his award- winning portrayal in FIDDLER ON THE ROOF.

Based on the stories of Sholom Aleichem, FIDDLER ON THE ROOF has been lauded by critics again and again, and won the hearts of people all around the world. Filled with a rousing, heartwarming score, which includes "Tradition," "Matchmaker, Matchmaker," "If I Were A Rich Man" and "Sunrise, Sunset," FIDDLER ON THE ROOF is a timeless classic. No other musical has so magically woven music, dance, poignancy and laughter into such an electrifying and unforgettable experience. Relive a glorious tradition of the musical theatre with TOPOL in FIDDLER ON THE ROOF."


  • Venango Honors Program Open Forum: Wednesday, March 18th at 3:30 - 4:30 in Honors Lounge
  • 2009 Independent Film experience: "The Wind That Shakes the Barley," Saturday, March 28th at 7:30 P.M.
  • PTK Satellite Seminar Series Lecture: "Archaeological Evidence for the Origins of Affluence" by Dr. Michael Galaty,Monday, March 23rd at 5:30
  • Field Trip Experience:"Darwin in the History of Ideas: From Natural Theology to Natural Selection," Wednesday, March 18th, 2009, 7:00-10:00 p.m. Power Center Ballroom - Duquesne University campus           ( )

Francisco Ayala. Dr. Ayala is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and was winner of the 2001 National Medal of Science. He is Donald Bren Professor of Biological Sciences, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology at UC-Irvine and holds other appointments in the School of Humanities and the School of Social Sciences at U. of California-Irvine. He has a longstanding interest in the relationship of science and religion and has written a recent book (Darwin's Gift to Science and Religion) that puts his thinking on these matters into a popular form. The title of his talk will be "Darwin in the History of Ideas: From Natural Theology to Natural Selection."

Abstract: Darwin is deservedly given credit for the theory of evolution. He accumulated evidence demonstrating that organisms evolve over eons of time and diversify as they adapt to environments that are enormously diverse. Most important, however, is that he discovered natural selection, the process that accounts for the evolution of organisms and for their adaptive features; that is, their "design." The design of organisms is not intelligent, as it would be expected from an engineer, but imperfect and worse: defects, dysfunctions, oddities, waste, and cruelty pervade the living world.

Darwin's theory of evolution accounts for the design of organisms, and for their wondrous diversity, as the result of the gradual accumulation of spontaneous mutations sorted out by natural selection. Mutation and selection have jointly driven the marvelous process that, starting from microscopic organisms, has yielded orchids, birds, and humans. The theory of evolution conveys chance and necessity, randomness and determinism, jointly enmeshed in the stuff of life.

  • Field Trip Experience: "Is the Human Hand a Serious Evolutionary Topic? Darwin and Bell thought so - maybe we should, too," Friday, March 27th, 2009, 7:00-10:00 p.m. Power Center Ballroom - Duquesne University campus

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Frank Wilson, M.D. is a graduate of Columbia College and the University of California School of Medicine. A neurologist who is now retired from active clinical practice, he was a founder of the Health Program for Performing Artists at the University of California San Francisco and its medical director from 1996-2000. He was Clinical Professor of Neurology at Stanford University Medical Center until 2003. He has long been interested in the neurology of skilled hand movement, and is a widely respected authority on the neurology of acquired hand disorders. He is the author of two monographs on the hand, the second of which (The Hand: How Its Use Shapes the Brain, Language, and Human Culture; Pantheon Books) was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for nonfiction in 1998.

Abstract: Charles Darwin and Charles Bell were contemporaries; like Darwin, Bell was a comparative anatomist, and the two shared the conviction of late Renaissance anatomists that the human hand was an organ of unique design and central importance to human life. In 1833, while Darwin was exploring Tierra del Fuego aboard the Beagle, Bell proclaimed in his famous Bridgewater Treatise that the human hand, the perfect instrument for human intelligence, proved the existence of God. Nearly forty years later, in The Descent of Man, Darwin demurred.

It is perhaps a fair measure of the unbridled growth of complications confronting the sciences of human behavior that the exact place of the human hand in human intelligence remains unknown. In this talk, some of the history of the effort to answer this question will be reviewed, and the possible significance of recent findings in anthropology and language studies will be presented.


  • Venango Honors Program Open Forum: Wednesday, April 15th
  • 2009 Independent Film experience:"The Visitor," Saturday, April 11th at 7:30 P.M.
  • Field Trip Experience: "Evolution and Faith: What Is at Stake?," Tuesday, April 7th, 2009, 7:00-10:00 p.m. Power Center Ballroom - Duquesne University campus

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John Haught is a Roman Catholic theologian and the Landegger Distinguished Professor of Theology at Georgetown University. He won the 2002 Owen Garrigan Award in Science and Religion and the 2004 Sophia Award for Theological Excellence. Dr. Haught was an expert witness for the plaintiffs in the landmark 2005 Kitzmiller et al. vs. Dover Area School District court case that found intelligent design to be a religious idea and not science. He has written extensively on the need to incorporate modern evolutionary thinking into contemporary Catholic theology. His books include Deeper Than Darwin: The Prospect for Religion in the Age of Evolution and God After Darwin: A Theology of Evolution.

Abstract: Darwinian science vastly extends the story of life, along with life's suffering and creativity, far beyond traditional theological awareness. In what sense, then, after Darwin, might scientifically informed people still trust in divine providence and wisdom, if at all? Do we have to choose between faith and evolution? Does evolutionary biology adequately explain living complexity? Is it possible that evolutionary portraits of life open up fresh ways of thinking about God in the age of science? After Darwin can there be a plausible understanding of God that is both consistent with traditional beliefs while at the same time being adequate to the reality of evolution? This lecture addresses these and other related issues.