West Virginia Universitys Festival of Ideas lecture series, which brings prominent speakers to campus each year, has been renamed in honor of WVU President Emeritus David C. Hardesty Jr.

WVU officials wanted to create a permanent and meaningful recognition of his service to the University and the WVU Foundation, said interim WVU President C. Peter Magrath, who Monday (March 9) presented the former president with a plaque inscribed with the new namethe David C. Hardesty Jr. Festival of Ideas. The plaque will be housed in the Mountainlair.

As student body president in the 1960s, Hardesty helped create the original Festival of Ideas at WVU . Topics included the hotly debated ideas of the day: the Vietnam War, corruption in government, modern trends in religious thought, even the music of the protest movement, among others.

Initiated as an activity that invites expression of conflicting and different points of view, the Festival of Ideas reaffirms important campus values, including academic freedom, the constant search for truth and the right of dissenters to speak their minds,Hardesty said.

The lecture series was revived in 1996 after Hardesty became president and features key figures from the fields of sports, politics, business, research, entertainment, scholarship and culture.

A campus activity that involves the entire University community, the Festival of Ideas reaffirms the proposition that in a campus community, learning takes place outside the classroom, not just inside the classroom,he said.

The series is supported in part by the David C. Hardesty Jr. Festival of Ideas Endowment, which was established in 2007 by the WVU Foundation, a private, nonprofit corporation that generates, receives and administers private gifts from individuals and organizations for the benefit of WVU .

WVU s 2009 Festival of Ideas ( http://festivalofideas.wvu.edu/ ) continues through April with a diverse group of national experts discussing the latest ideas about their respective fields.

Still on tap are lectures by economist William Easterly, journalist Gwen Ifill and paleoanthropologist and zoologist Meave Leakey.

Past Festival speakers include poet Maya Angelou, author Gore Vidal, filmmaker Spike Lee, journalist Judith Miller and Olympic gold medalist Jackie Joyner-Kersee.