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Friday, May 25, 2012

An Evening with Northeastern

Last night Arader Galleries hosted an Evening with Northeastern to celebrate and pay tribute to a spectacular institution that has transformed my vision into a reality.

Northeastern has successfully created a program of a for-credit course that uses maps and natural history artworks that I have contributed to breathe life into history and science. Robert Dietrich, the Associate Vice President of University Advancement, introduced the evening and mentioned that without the connection made to me by Ernie Lewis and his wife Laura Henderson Lewis, none of this would have happened. He then gave the floor to Professors George Van Den Abbeele and Beryl Schlossman. As Professor Van Den Abbeele mentioned, the class is a rare combination of art history, natural history, cartography, anthropology and cultural analysis, therefore a true introduction to the liberal arts and sciences. He noted that it is the Arader collection, which is on view 24 hours a day, 7 days a week that is the centerpiece of the course and makes the educational objective possible, of understanding how human beings from the sixteenth through the nineteenth centuries arrived at a scientific understanding of the world through representation of different places, peoples, plants and creatures. Professor Schlossman added that students of all disciplines, and even some that are undeclared in their field of study, are enrolled in the course. She beamed when she said that she does not know of anything as innovative or unique at any other institution.

The evening was then followed by an intimate dinner where we all spoke of our connection to Northeastern. Among the special guests were Board of Trustees member Venetia Kontogouris as well as Tim Wilson, Keeper of Western Art at the Ashmolean Museum (University of Oxford). Ms. Kontogouris arrived in the US to attend Northeastern as an immigrant from Greece. She attributes her success as a female entrepreneur today to her experience at Northeastern. Wilson passionately applauded Northeastern's approach to teaching by bringing original objects to the classroom, especially as it mirror's the museum's own stated mission "to make its collections of art and archaeology available to the widest possible audience, now and in the future, by exhibiting, preserving and interpreting its objects for study, enjoyment and inspiration, and to promote the understanding of them by teaching and research at the highest level."

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