Monday, January 28, 2013

Dream Course

The invitation came through email from a chaired professor and I was very intrigued.
The invitation stated: It is our pleasure to invite you to participate in the Presidential Dream Course titled “Understanding and Engineering Systems”.  

Dream Courses at the University of Oklahoma (OU) were initiated beginning in 2004 by President David L. Boren. The Dream Course program provides extra resources to enhance educational aspects of certain courses, in part for use to invite distinguished external speakers to campus. OU is particularly interested in courses that cover important topics for concerned and engaged citizens in the 21st century.

Recognizing the increasing importance of systems, our School has recently re-configured itself to become a School of Industrial and Systems Engineering. This lecture series will help us to focus attention on systems and systems engineering. 

We expect attendees to include students and faculty from various colleges from the OU Norman and Tulsa campuses.   We expect between 20 to 50 people to attend this lecture.

On behalf of the course coordinators it is my pleasure to invite you to be one of the key note speakers. 

In addition, we invite you to offer a lecture to the public during your stay with us.  We expect between 50 and 100 people to attend this lecture, including faculty, students, and the interested public, with backgrounds in engineering, economics, business, political science, humanities, and business. If time and travel constraints allow, these lectures are often accompanied by a reception and are covered by the daily university newspaper.

The invitation came from Professor J. K. Allen, who is also the Chair of the Dream Course Committee. She is an MIT grad and a UCBerkeley PhD and had previously been at Georgia Tech -- a great role model!

Since I work on network systems, the theme of the Dream Course was perfect and, since I have never, ever been to Oklahoma, this was a great opportunity. 

I also commend OU and its President for such a wonderful initiative!
In doing some additional research, I found that Dr. Boren has been President of OU since 1994 and he has had an amazing professional career, having graduated from Yale and then going on to Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar, after which he obtained his law degree. He has been a Senator and has advised President Obama, among others.

Of course, I said yes to the invitation and, in early April, after returning from Sweden, I will give a lecture in Professor Allen's Dream Course entitled: Grand Challenges and Opportunities in Supply Chain Networks: From Analysis to Design. My public lecture will be on: Assessing the Performance and Vulnerability of Networks from Transportation to the Internet, Financial Networks, and Supply Chains: What Nodes and Links Really Matter?

I am very much looking forward to this speaking engagement.

Interestingly, President Boren is also on the Board of Directors of Mayor Bloomberg's Foundation.  Michael Bloomberg, the Mayor of NYC, and his philanthropy, especially to his alma mater, the Johns Hopkins University, were the subject of my most recent post.