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September 17, 2019

Art, history, technology among topics planned for SVSU’s fall speaker series

Sylvia, Cathy CassadySaginaw Valley State University will host seven guest speakers as part of its annual fall Visiting Scholars and Artists series. The series will bring to campus a renowned Bollywood actress, the daughter of two prominent American literary figures, a CEO and a former president of MIT.


Speakers will discuss the transcendent nature of art, the breaking of historical barriers, the revolution of technological-biological science and new concepts in the learning process.


All events are free of charge and open to the public.


The following includes the complete lineup of fall Visiting Scholars and Artists speakers:





“The Beat Generation On and Off the Road”

Cathy Cassady Sylvia

Dow Visiting Scholar

Monday, Sept. 23, 4 p.m., in Founders Hall

Cathy Cassady Sylvia is a guest lecturer in California focusing on Beat literature and the former editor for the Stanford Medical School Cardiology Division newsletter. The daughter of famous Beat writers Carolyn and Neal Cassady, her lecture will focus on how female voices — including her mother's — shaped Beat Generation literature while also being silenced by it.


“From SVSU to Bollywood: A Personal Journey”

Meera Chopra

Dow Visiting Artist

Thursday, Sept. 26, 7 p.m., in Malcolm Field Theatre for Performing Arts

SVSU alumna Meera Chopra, an Indian actress and model, has appeared in more than 20 films in various languages produced in her home country. Her most recent role was in "Section 375," a courtroom drama about India's anti-rape laws. Chopra's lecture will tackle the importance of addressing difficult topics through art.


“High-Tech, High-Touch Solutions to the Opioid Crisis in Rural Michigan”

Kathleen Schachman

Thomas and Hilda Rush Distinguished Lecture

Thursday, Oct. 3, 4 p.m., in Founders Hall

Kathleen Schachman is the H.R. Wickes Endowed Chair of Nursing at SVSU, serving in this role since 2014. She helped implement the university's psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner program, which is serving its first cohort of 16 nurse practitioners. Her practice focuses on addictions and recovery support services. She will discuss how her work has intersected with the nation's opioid crisis.


“A Night with Olga Custodio”

Lieutenant Colonel Olga Custodio

Dow Visiting Scholar

Wednesday, Oct. 9, 6 p.m., in Founders Hall

Lieutenant Colonel Olga Custodio broke social and sound barriers as the first Latina to become a United States Air Force (USAF) military pilot and a commercial pilot for American Airlines. Now retired from both American Airlines and the USAF Reserves, Custodio is an active member of the Women Military Aviators Association, the Women in Aviation International and the Order of Daedalians.


"Welcome to the Age of Living Machines”

Susan Hockfield

James E. O’Neill Memorial Lecture

Thursday, Oct. 17, 7 p.m., in Malcolm Field Theatre for Performing Arts

Susan Hockfield is a professor of neuroscience and served as the first female president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology from 2004-12. Her book, “The Age of Living Machines,” examines the technological-biological revolution known as “convergence.” In her presentation, Hockfield will provide a glimpse of the world to come.


"Engaging Learners in Liminal Spaces”

Elizabeth Wardle

Dow Visiting Scholar

Thursday, Oct. 24, 7 p.m., in Gilbertson Hall's room GS 202

Elizabeth Wardle is a distinguished professor of written communication and director of the Howe Center for Writing Excellence at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. She has published an award-winning collection of insights, “Naming What We Know,” and four editions of the co-authored textbook, “Writing about Writing.” In her talk, Wardle will discuss threshold concepts, student learning blocks and liminality in the learning process.


“The Perfect Storm”

Horacio Sanchez

Foundation Visiting Scholar

Monday, Nov. 4, 7 p.m., in Gilbertson Hall's Ott Auditorium

Horacio Sanchez is the president and CEO of Resiliency Inc., an agency leader in helping schools improve school climate, instruction and discipline. He addresses these topics in his book, "The Education Revolution." His research focuses on promoting student resiliency and applying brain science to improve school outcomes.


For more information about the Visiting Scholars and Artists speaker series, visit