With so many great ideas, why limit them to just one semester?

That is why West Virginia University has decided to extend the discussions and make the David C. Hardesty, Jr. Festival of Ideas a year-long celebration.

The 2010-11 David C. Hardesty, Jr. Festival of Ideas will bring leaders from a variety of disciplines to WVU to engage in conversations about research, business, education and social issues, among other things.

“The spring is so busy and we saw an opportunity to extend the festival, and we took it,” said Robin Yorty, interim executive director of University Events. “We hope that by splitting the festival into two semesters we will generate more interest, and give students, faculty and community members a chance to reap the benefits.”

The festival will kick off on Sept. 27 in the Mountainlair ballrooms at 7:30 p.m. with a presentation by award-winning science writer Rebecca Skloot. The presentation is being put on in partnership with the DeLynn Lecture Series and the Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center.

Skloot will tell the story of Henrietta Lacks, a woman whose cells were taken without asking. The cells – known by scientists as HeLa cells – launched a medical revolution and a multimillion dollar industry. And, Lacks’ family never received compensation.

HeLa cells have been vital for medical breakthroughs, including developing the polio vaccine, learning about the mysteries of cancer, viruses and the effects of the atom bomb. They have helped lead to advances such as in vitro fertilization, cloning and gene mapping.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks was Skloot’s first book. Her work has appeared in “The New York Times Magazine,” “O, The Oprah Magazine” and “Discover,” among others. She has been featured on numerous television shows, including CBS Sunday Morning, The Colbert Report and Fox Business News.

A reception and book signing will be held following Skloot’s presentation.

Jean and Laurence DeLynn established the DeLynn Lecture Series in 1992 with an endowed gift to the Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center. The series provides educational and informational presentations in the area of cancer research, treatment, education and prevention.

Other festival speakers will be announced in the coming months.
The David C. Hardesty Jr. Festival of Ideas is named after WVU’s former president who created the lecture series. Each year, the festival brings key figures from the fields of sports, politics, business, entertainment, research, scholarship and culture to Morgantown.

The series is supported in part by the David C. Hardesty Jr. Festival of Ideas Endowment.

For more information on the 2010-11 Festival of Ideas, visit http://festivalofideas.wvu.edu/ .



CONTACT: Stephanie Ballard Conrad, University Events
304-293-4674, Stephanie.Ballard-Conrad@mail.wvu.edu

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