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National leader in university academics to speak at JMU event

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jamesmadisonlogopurplepcLaurie Baefsky, a national leader in promoting interdisciplinary research and scholarship, will be a keynote speaker Thursday at James Madison University’s Grand Celebration of Innovation, Art and Scholarship.

The event, which celebrates JMU faculty achievements and will include a keynote address by 2015 Provost Award winner Dr. Steve Whisnant, will be held from 3:30-7 p.m. in the newly renovated Duke Hall Gallery of Fine Art.

Baefsky is the executive director of the Alliance for the Arts in Research Universities, a partnership of more than 30 institutions committed to transforming research universities in order to ensure the greatest possible institutional support for interdisciplinary research, curricula, programs and creative practice between the arts, sciences and other disciplines.

Baefsky earned a bachelor of music degree from California State University, Fullerton; a master of music degree in flute performance from the University of Michigan; and a doctorate of music arts — also in flute performance — from Stony Brook University.

Whisnant is head of the department of physics and astronomy at JMU and the 2015 Provost Award Winner for Excellence in Research and Scholarship. He joined JMU in 2001 and during his tenure, the department has grown to become one of the largest undergraduate physics departments in the nation.  In 2016, the department opens the Madison Radiation Laboratory in Madison Hall, making it one of a handful of undergraduate departments in the nation to have an on-campus nuclear physics facility.

Dr. Eric Ruple, a member of the JMU music faculty since 1987, also will give a keynote address. He is a Steinway Artist and has performed several times at Steinway Hall in New York City, and at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., including a solo concert of the music of Beethoven in 2007. He has been a pianist for the Virginia Symphony and Richmond Symphony. Mr. Ruple has performed and presented concerts and master classes at several universities and festivals throughout the United States.

The evening will conclude with a reception and display of faculty scholarship from each college at JMU.

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