|September 10, 2010|
New Notables exhibit opens in Schaffer Library
The latest Union Notables exhibit features a Hollywood studio chief (Alan Horn), a scientific researcher (Theodore W. Berger) and a politician and founding trustee of the College (Joseph Christopher Yates).
The exhibit, which runs through February, is now open in the Thelma and Kenneth Lally Reading Room of Schaffer Library.
As president and COO of Warner Bros. since 1999, Horn brought the unforgettable characters of the Harry Potter series from the pages of J. K. Rowling’s novels to the big screen.
After graduating from Union in 1964 with a degree in economics, Horn served nearly five years in the U.S. Air Force, achieving the rank of captain. Following that, he received his Master of Business Administration, awarded with distinction, from Harvard Business School.
Under Horn’s leadership, Warner Bros. has produced some of the studio’s most popular and profitable movies, including the six films to date in the Harry Potter series, which in September 2007 became the most successful motion picture franchise in history. For the Notables exhibit, Horn lent the College a wand used in the latest film, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1.”
The featured speaker at Union’s 2010 commencement, where he received an honorary doctor of fine arts degree, Horn told his audience to “be a person of character. Integrity and honor are everything. Actions define your character, and your character will define the kind of life you have.”
Berger is in the business of engineering replacement parts for the brain. His work on developing implantable neural prostheses is helping to move the fields of bioengineering, neuroscience and medicine to a whole new level.
The David Packard Professor of Engineering, professor of Biomedical Engineering and Neurobiology and director of the Center for Neural Engineering at the University of Southern California, Berger graduated summa cum laude from Union in 1972. He majored in math and psychology and was awarded the Catlin Prize for best scholastic record.
He went on to Harvard University to study the relationships between brain function and behavior. While there, he and another graduate student made a discovery on the brain basis of classical conditioning; their paper was published in Science. In 1997, Berger became director of the Center for Neural Engineering at USC, an organization that helps to unite faculty with cross-disciplinary interests in neuroscience, engineering, and medicine.
Berger has acknowledged Union’s role in his success: “The vast majority of courses required written exams and reports—you really learned how to think and to write. All were very problem oriented: You had to conceptualize a problem, formulate a solution, research your solution, and evaluate it. Professors were really good at selecting key problems in society and science; they all thought very deeply about their field and were able to distill key problems in that area. And they presented the problems in such a way that you became a partner in finding a solution.”
Joseph C. Yates
Yates became the first mayor of Schenectady in 1798, at the age of 30. He also served as a New York State Senator. In 1808 he became a judge of the New York State Supreme Court, where he served for 15 years. He was the youngest member of the original board of trustees of Union, serving from 1795 until his death in 1837. Yates and his fellow board members persevered in their effort to found a college in Schenectady in the face of challenges from the nearby community of Albany, and helped shaped the nature and character of the College as it is known today.
The exhibit features a letter Yates wrote concerning the formation of Union, along with the record of votes cast for him for governor in Schenectady’s second ward and a mayoral re-election letter from 1807.
“Union Notables” is an ongoing, rotating exhibit that features three outstanding individuals connected to the College. A new group of "notables" is featured every six months.
When a new group “notables” is installed, the preceding “notables” are given a permanent home elsewhere on campus.
For more information on “Union Notables,” click here.