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President Boren Announces New Educational Initiative

President Boren Announces New Educational Initiative

OU President David Boren has announced a new initiative aimed at allowing alumni and friends the opportunity to "come back to college for a day."

University of Oklahoma President David Boren announced a new initiative aimed at allowing University alumni and friends the opportunity to “come back to college for a day.” 

The President’s Day of Learning will begin with a welcome reception and dinner on Friday, April 19, at 6 p.m. at the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History on OU’s Norman campus. Participants will learn about the University’s early history from award-winning teacher and OU historian David Levy. 

The following day, OU participants will have the opportunity to learn from some of the University’s most outstanding professors on topics ranging from campaign finance to cancer research to the U.S. and Southeast Asia. Four groups of concurrent teaching sessions will be offered throughout the day with participants choosing a discussion from each session to attend.  

“Over the years, many alumni have often told me they wished they could go back to college,” Boren said. “We are pleased to provide our alumni and friends with that opportunity through this unique and intellectually inspiring event.”   

Saturday morning will feature lectures from Dr. Shubham Pant and Andrew Porwancher.  Dr. Pant, an assistant professor in Hematology and Oncology, will be hosting a discussion on “Clinical Trials in the Fight Against Cancer.” Porwancher, an assistant professor in Classics and Letters, will be focusing on the Gilded Age murder trials of the 1800s in a lecture titled “The Devil Himself: A Gilded Story of Honor, Vengeance, and Insanity.” 

The second morning session will feature lectures from David Ray, dean of OU’s Honors College, and Joshua Landis, associate professor of international and area studies. Ray’s lecture is titled “American Politics” and will explore America’s current political climate in regard to polarization and policymaking. Landis will be discussing Syria’s recent revolution and its impact on the country’s future in a lecture titled “Syria: Where Is the Revolution Going?” 

Boren, in his capacity as a faculty member, will deliver the noon class lecture on “How Long Will America Lead the World?” at the Saturday luncheon in the Oklahoma Memorial Union’s Beaird Lounge. 

Following the luncheon, Dr. Kenneth Copeland, professor and chair of Pediatrics, will present a lecture titled “Moving Medicine Forward,” in which participants will evaluate the impact of medical research on cures and treatments for disease. Also at 2 p.m., Kyle Harper, senior vice provost and associate professor of classics and letters, will be lecturing on the political philosophy of the classical world and how these principles helped shape modern civilization in a presentation titled “The Pursuit of Happiness:  From Aristotle to Jefferson to Today.” 

The day’s fourth session will feature lectures from Joseph Thai, professor of law, and Mariam Mufti, assistant professor in International and Area Studies. Thai’s session will focus on the principles of free speech as they relate to campaign finance reform in a presentation titled “Money, Speech, and Democracy: The Supreme Court and Campaign Finance Today.” Mufti’s lecture, titled “Shifting U.S. Priorities Toward South Asia,” will focus on the future foreign policy decisions of the United States following the War on Terror and U.S. policy toward Palestine. 

Dinner will be provided at the Crawford University Club in Oklahoma Memorial Union.The evening will conclude with the annual President’s Concert featuring the performance of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9. The concert will begin at 8 p.m. at Catlett Music Center. 

Those interested must register online at or by calling (405) 325-3488. The registration fee includes the reception/dinner on April 19, all lectures, the Saturday luncheon and dinner, and tickets to the President’s Concert Saturday night. Participants must register by April 1. 

For more information, or to request an informational brochure be mailed to you, please contact Chris Elliott at OU’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute by emailing or by calling (405) 325-3488.