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ECU surgeon to give first talk in Voyages lecture series

Greenville, NC  (Sept. 15, 2008)  —  Dr. W. Randolph Chitwood Jr., a renowned cardiothoracic surgeon and senior associate vice chancellor of Health Sciences at East Carolina University will deliver the inaugural North Carolina Lecture in the 2008-2009 Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences’ Voyages of Discovery Lecture Series.

The event will take place in Wright Auditorium at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 24. It is the first of six lectures in the series that honors the broad intellectual accomplishments of Thomas Harriot.

Alan White, dean of the Harriot College of Arts and Sciences, said: "We are exceptionally fortunate to have Dr. Chitwood deliver the opening lecture of the 2008-2009 Voyages of Discovery Series. Dr. Chitwood's innovations in robotic cardiac surgery, known as the da Vinci Surgical System, make him an outstanding choice as the inaugural lecturer, one whose professional accomplishments epitomize the mission of the Voyages of Discovery Lecture Series."

Chitwood will speak on "Medical Discoveries and Innovations of the Twentieth Century," a fitting topic for a global leader in the field of minimally-invasive cardiac surgery.

The Duke-trained surgeon led the development of the cardiac surgery program at ECU's Brody School of Medicine and made headlines internationally when he completed the 400th robot-assisted heart mitral valve repair in Greenville earlier this year.

The lecture series will continue on Oct. 8 when Walter Isaacson, CEO of the Aspen Institute and former CEO of CNN, will deliver the Premier Lecture, speaking on "Creative Leaders Who Have Shaped Our World." Isaacson's lecture, the Premier Lecture of the Voyages series, is sponsored by the David Julian and Virginia Suther Whichard Fund.

Marcus Borg, a leading scholar on the historical Jesus and emeritus professor of Religion and Culture at Oregon State University, will deliver a talk titled, "Christians in the Age of Empire: Then and Now," as the series' Jarvis Lecture in Religion and Culture on Nov. 18. This event is co-sponsored by Jarvis Memorial United Methodist Church and the Interdisciplinary Religious Studies program at ECU.

The Sallie Southall Cotten Lecture, celebrating scholarship by or about women, will be given on Jan. 27, 2009, by Eugenie Scott. Scott, executive director of the National Center for Science Education, will speak on "Darwin's Legacy in Science and Society." The Cotten Lecture is named after a resident and author of Pitt County who played a major role in organizing women’s groups in the early twentieth century.

Next Feb. 25, the Brewster Lecture in History, co-sponsored by the History Department, will be delivered by Felipe Fernández-Armesto, author of numerous volumes including the best-selling volume, Millennium: A History of the Last Thousand Years. His talk is titled, "The Man Who Gave His Name to America." The Brewster Lecture is named for the late-Lawrence Brewster, a respected professor of history and ECU benefactor.

The Thomas Harriot Lecture will be presented April 2 by Stephan Clucas, professor at Birkbeck University of London and vice-chairman of the Thomas Harriot Seminar. This series finale is entitled, "Thomas Harriot: New Worlds of an Elizabethan Scientist" and will take place at 7 p.m. in the Science and Technology Building, Room OC-307.

According to John A. Tucker, director of the Voyages of Discovery Series, the lectures "celebrate the spirit of exploration and discovery that characterized all aspects of Thomas Harriot's work as an ethnographer, an astronomer, a linguist, a mathematician and a student of literature."

All lectures except the last one, will be presented at 7 p.m. in Wright Auditorium. Tickets are free for ECU faculty, staff and students. Community members who would like to attend these lectures can purchase tickets