2013 Speakers

Father George V. Coyne S.J

Father George V. Coyne S.J

Father George V. Coyne S.J

 A Jesuit priest and astronomy scholar who served as head of the Vatican Observatory will offer his perspectives on how science and religion can be reconciled when he presents the next Cazenovia Forum lecture, scheduled for Friday, March 22 at 7:00 pm at Cazenovia College’s Catherine Cummings Theatre on Lincklaen Street.

Father George V. Coyne S.J., who is currently the McDevitt Distinguished Chair in Religious Philosophy at Le Moyne College, will present the lectureEvolution and the Science-Religion Debate in Modern America, drawing on his decades of experience as both a priest and scientist to “discuss how important it is to respect the richness of both religious faith and of scientific research.”

Father Coyne holds a doctorate in astronomy from Georgetown University, as well as a bachelor’s in mathematics from Fordham University and a licentiate in philosophy from Georgetown.  After several decades on the faculty at the University

of Arizona (UA), he became Director of the Vatican Observatory in 1978, a position he held until 2006 while also serving as Associate Director of the Steward Observatory at UA.  He became the founding director of the Vatican Observatory Foundation in 1986.

“Ever since Charles Darwin first proposed that all life forms have come to be through a natural process of evolution, a debate has raged about the threat that such a scientific explanation might pose for religious belief,” said Coyne.  “Within the past decade within the educational, political and religious cultures in the United States this has presented us with a direct and basic confrontation between science and religion.”

“What does a scientist who is a religious believer think of this confrontation?”

Father Coyne is a member of the International Astronomical Union, the American Astronomical Society, the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, the American Physical Society and the Optical Society of America.  He has received numerous honorary degrees and was awarded the Mendel Medal by Villanova University in September 2008 and the George Van Biesbroeck Prize by the American Astronomical Society in January 2010.

David Cay Johnston, Muckraking Journalist

David Cay Johnston

David Cay Johnston

 Johnston’s lecture, entitled “Monopolists Rising:  How Big Business Uses Government to Thwart Competition, Jack Up Prices and Deliver Services Europeans and Asians Laugh At,” is open to the public and is free of charge.  As with all Cazenovia Forum events, the speaker will entertain questions from the audience, and a reception will follow.

Over 13 years at The Times, he reported on hidden aspects of executive compensation, showing how top executives built vast fortunes while paying little or no income tax; revealed shortcomings in the pension and retirement savings systems that prompted reforms; exposed abuses of the bankruptcy system; and revealed how the rules of electricity “markets” raise prices rather than lower them. He wrote warnings about the housing bubble years before it popped.

 A frequent guest on national television shows, Johnston is the author of a best-selling trilogy on the American economy: “Perfectly Legal,” a book about the American tax system that won the 2004 Investigative Book of the Year Award, “Free Lunch” (on subsidies) and “The Fine Print” (on monopolies and oligopolies).  In 2001, he won the Pulitzer Prize for his reporting on tax loopholes and abuses, which prompted numerous criminal convictions with long prison sentences, successful civil cases against tax cheats and tax shelter promoters as well as adoption of reforms by Congress and Oregon lawmakers.  An anthology he is editing for The New Press will be published this fall under the title “DIVIDED: The Perils of Our Growing Inequality.”

 Over the years, Johnston’s reporting has shut down so many tax dodges that Professor Douglas Shackelford of the University of North Carolina’s business school named him the “de facto chief tax enforcement officer of the United States.”

 Other newspapers Johnston was worked for in his 40-year career include the San Jose Mercury, Detroit Free Press, Los Angeles Times and Philadelphia Inquirer.  Since 2009 he has been a Distinguished Visiting Lecturer at Syracuse University College of Law, where he teaches the property, tax and regulatory law of the ancient world as a way to showing the principles and theory in the law today.  He is currently board president of the 4,200-member Investigative Reporters & Editors (IRE).

Lakshmi Singh, news anchor for National Public Radio,

Lakshmi Singh photo

Since 2000, Singh has been a part of the award-winning team at NPR News, which has an audience of 26 million and is repeatedly recognized for its comprehensive analysis of the most pressing issues of our day.  She will discuss her journey through the NPR system, the changes she has seen in news reporting during the past two decades and the struggle NPR faces in remaining true to its mission while also serving a 21st century audience.

Singh is a Syracuse University graduate who got her start at WAER-FM, before moving on to NPR member stations in Spokane, Orlando and Washington, DC.

During the last two decades, NPR listeners have come to know her for her ability to quickly connect with audiences as a newscaster and a field reporter through the power of sound and descriptive narrative.  Her passion for telling a good story has taken her from the heart of a Central American village in the aftermath of an earthquake to the corridors of the nation’s Capitol as immigration reform was under debate to farms in the Midwestern U.S. as global fears rose over a swine flu epidemic.

While in Haiti as a documentary producer for public radio’s Soundprint program, Singh uncovered compelling stories of women struggling to live with HIV/AIDS while their politically embattled government was on the verge of collapse.

As with all Cazenovia Forum events, Singh’s lecture will be followed by a reception, during which she will be on hand to chat informally with audience members.

 Dave Eichorn, WSYR-TV meteorologist

Eichorn, whose lecture is titled Climate Change Through a Meteorological Perspective, works with Syracuse Media Group as a meteorologist for the Post Standard and Syracuse.com.  Previously he spent 20 years as the on-air weatherman for WSYR-TV local newscasts.  Since January 2006, he has given dozens of presentations on climate change with a meteorological perspective to thousands of Central New Yorkers.

Eichorn has worked with SUNY’s College of Environmental Science and Forestry and the Syracuse City School District on the “SUNY-ESF/SCSD Environmental Challenge” student science fair.  In 2008, he moderated SUNY-ESF’s seminar series “CNY’s Response to Global Energy and Climate Change Challenges” and has worked with community leaders across the region on local efforts toward the mitigation of our carbon footprint.

As a meteorologist, Eichorn has won awards for severe weather coverage of the superstorm of March 1993, Hurricane Gloria and for educating the public in the science of meteorology.  He has held adjunct positions at Onondaga Community College and SUNY-ESF, where he has taught Introductory Meteorology and Environmental Meteorology.

Eichorn has a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science from the SUNY Empire State College and a Master’s degree in Environmental Science from SUNY-ESF. He was awarded the 2010 SUNY Chancellor’s Award for academic excellence.


New York Times crossword editor Will Shortz

Will Shortz Photo

Will Shortz
Photo by Donald Christensen.

Shortz, who appears regularly on National Public Radio, will orchestrate a series of puzzles and word games for the audience to play along with him.  His program will be preceded by a sit-down brunch, which will include samples from the region’s newest winery, Owera Vineyards.  The Cazenovia Forum is a not-for-profit organization established in 2006 by community members focused on promoting the understanding and discussion of national and international issues.  The organization holds a fundraising event every two years to help support its regular lecture events featuring well-known public figures from politics, business, academia, media and the arts.

 A native of Indiana, Will Shortz began his professional career as a puzzle maker when he was a teenager. He graduated from Indiana University in 1974 with a self-designed degree in enigmatology (the study of puzzles), then earned a law degree from the University of Virginia Law School in 1977.  He went right to work in the puzzle business, first for Penny Press (1977) and then Games magazine (1978). Shortz spent fifteen years at Games, including four years as editor, before moving to The New York Times in 1993.

Since 1987 Will Shortz has also been a regular on NPR’s Weekend Edition Sunday.  He’s since become the leading national authority on popular puzzles, with hundreds of books to his credit and a central role in the popular 2006 documentary filmWordplay, featuring Bill Clinton and Jon Stewart.  Shortz has even guest-starred onThe Simpsons (in 2008) and How I Met Your Mother (in 2010).

 “Will Shortz is an icon in the world of crossword puzzles, and anyone who hears him on NPR will have a sense of how this event is going to play out.  It’s going to be a lot of fun for everyone,” said Cindy Sutton, President of the Cazenovia Forum.  “What a great way to close out the summer – playing along with Will Shortz at beautiful Owera Vineyards.”

Admission to the event is $60 per person, which will include brunch and the opportunity to taste Owera’s wines.  Seating is limited and the event is likely to sell out.  Reservations will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.  Anyone who is interested in attending should reserve by mailing a check to Forum Shortz Event, P.O. Box 613, Cazenovia, NY 13035.

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