Briefly Noted

Issue Date: 
September 27, 2010

Pitt Sets Adoption Lecture for Sept. 30

University of Baltimore School of Law Professor Elizabeth Samuels will present a lecture titled “Adoption, Identity, and Confidentiality: The History of Closed Records” at 12:30 p.m. Sept. 30 in Room G-20 of the University of Pittsburgh’s Barco Law Building.

The lecture—sponsored by Pitt’s School of Arts and Sciences, School of Law, and Women’s Studies Program as well as the Pittsburgh Consortium for Adoption Studies—is the first event of a four-part series designed to provide a forum for students, faculty, and the general public to gain a better understanding of the adoption process.

Samuels has written extensively on adoption rights. Her current research involves the surrender documents that birth mothers are required to sign during the adoption process. Her career-long research efforts include investigations of adult adoptees’ access to original birth records and government rulings regarding mothers’ consents to the adoption of their newborn infants.

An expert in constitutional and child and family law, Samuels has testified in state legislative hearings about adoption law bills and has lectured at national conferences on adoption.

The lecture is free and open to the public. For more information, e-mail or

—By Sierra L. Starks

Pitt Department of Communication to Host Public Address Conference Sept. 30-Oct. 2

The University of Pittsburgh’s Department of Communication will host the 12th Biennial Public Address Conference titled “Human Rights Rhetoric: Controversies, Conundrums, and Community Actions” from Sept. 30 to Oct. 2 at the Holiday Inn Select–University Center, 100 Lytton Ave., Oakland.

Sponsored by the Pitt Department of Communication’s Jack Matthews Endowment Fund and the Arts and Sciences Faculty Research and Scholarship Program, among others, the conference features lectures, breakout sessions, as well as a banquet at 7 p.m. Oct. 2 to recognize Professor David Zarefsky of Northwestern University, this year’s conference honoree.

Zarefsky is the Owen L. Coon Professor of Communication Studies at Northwestern. He is being honored for his significant contributions to the topics of human rights, rhetoric, and public address that include more than 70 published articles in professional journals.

Kirt Wilson, an associate professor of communication arts and sciences at Pennsylvania State University, will deliver the Sept. 30 lecture titled “More Than Civil Rights: The Fight for Black Freedom as a Human Rights Struggle.” The lecture is open only to conference registrants.

Two public lectures will be held in the Frick Fine Arts Auditorium. Mari Boor Tonn, an associate professor of rhetoric at the University of Richmond, will present a lecture titled “From the Eye to the Soul: Industrial Labor’s Mary Harris ‘Mother’ Jones, and the Rhetorics of Display” at 4 p.m. Oct. 1. Stephen John Hartnett, associate professor and chair of the Department of Communication at the University of Colorado at Denver, will deliver a talk titled “Speaking With the Damned: or, Prison Education, Social Justice, and Communication as a Human Right” at 4 p.m. Oct. 2.

The complete conference schedule is available at For more information, contact Pitt professor Lester Olson at

—By Sierra L. Starks

Call for Nominations for Pitt’s Bellet Awards, Ampco-Pittsburgh Prize

The University of Pittsburgh School of Arts and Sciences will accept nominations from Oct. 1 to Oct. 31 for both the Tina and David Bellet Teaching Excellence Awards and the Ampco-Pittsburgh Prize for Excellence in Advising.

David Bellet (CAS ’67) and his wife, Tina, established the Bellet Teaching Excellence Awards in 1998 to recognize outstanding and innovative undergraduate teaching in the School of Arts and Sciences. Bellet award recipients receive a cash prize in appreciation of their contributions to the School of Arts and Sciences and the University.

To qualify for the award, nominees must be full-time undergraduate Arts and Sciences’ faculty who have taught for three years on Pitt’s Pittsburgh campus. Applicants must receive at least three nominations to be considered for the award.

Students and faculty may submit nominations to Arts and Sciences Senior Director for Undergraduate Studies Judy McConnaha, 140 Thackeray Hall, 139 University Place, Pittsburgh, PA 15260. Electronic submissions can be sent to Carol Lynch at, but must be followed by a signed paper duplicate.

Ampco-Pittsburgh Corporation established the Ampco-Pittsburgh Prize for Excellence in Advising in 2006 to recognize outstanding academic advisors and their commitment to the success of Pitt’s undergraduate students. Award recipients receive a one-time $4,000 cash prize.

Full-time undergraduate Arts and Sciences faculty members are eligible for the Ampco-Pittsburgh Prize. Nominees must have been a departmental advisor for at least three years on the Pittsburgh campus to be considered. Nominees must receive at least one nomination from their department chair or program director and at least two from undergraduate students whom they have advised.

Department chairs, program directors, and current and former undergraduate advisees may submit nominations to Arts and Sciences Senior Director for Undergraduate Studies Judy McConnaha, 140 Thackeray Hall, 139 University Place, Pittsburgh, PA 15260. Electronic submissions can be sent to Additional information is available at

Author John Perkins to Speak At Pitt on Oct. 14

John Perkins, New York Times best-selling author, will lecture on corporate responsibility, ethics in the public and private sector, and sustainable environmental practices at 8 p.m. Oct. 14 in the Soldiers and Sailors Auditorium.

A question-and-answer session and book signing will follow the lecture.

Perkins is the author of Confessions of an Economic Hit Man (Penguin Group, 2006), The Secret History of the American Empire (Penguin Group, 2008) and Hoodwinked (Random House, 2009). He has held a variety of positions, including chief economist for a major international consulting firm, CEO of an alternative energy company, and adviser to Fortune 500 corporations and the World Bank. Perkins donates all proceeds from his speaking engagements to his nonprofit work, which includes environmental sustainability efforts and human rights initiatives in the Amazon rainforest region.

Among the sponsors of this event are the University of Pittsburgh’s Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business and College of Business Administration, International Business Center, Center for Latin American Studies, Global Studies Program, and Graduate School of Public and International Affairs.

For more information, visit or

—Jessica L. Myers