The Rydell Professorship

Posted on September 1st, 2009 by

Marean is currently a professor at the Institute of Human Origins as part of the School of Human Evolution and Social Change at Arizona State University in Tempe.

Marean is currently a professor at the Institute of Human Origins as part of the School of Human Evolution and Social Change at Arizona State University in Tempe.


By Maren Balk ’09

Curtis Marean, a world-class researcher, will enhance learning for students at Gustavus Adolphus College this spring through close interactions with them in partnership with other faculty members. As this year’s Rydell Professor, Marean will be at Gustavus March 9-13.

A paleoanthropologist and expert on human origins, Marean will team teach in a cultural anthropology course with Karen Larson, professor of anthropology and interdisciplinary studies. Marean will present two free, public lectures: March 10 at Gustavus and March 11 at the Science Museum of Minnesota.

Marean is currently a professor at the Institute of Human Origins as part of the School of Human Evolution and Social Change at Arizona State University in Tempe, where he teaches courses on the Stone Age of Africa, prehistoric and historic hunger-gatherers, zooarchaeology, and paleoecology. During the last decade he has put more effort into on-site archaeological excavations. In 2007, Marean and colleagues announced that they had found the oldest known evidence for the use of coastal resources, dating back to about 164,000 years ago, in Cave 13B at Pinnacle Point on the South African coastline near Mossel Bay within the Cape Floral Kingdom.

During his time at Gustavus, Marean will share his research in on-site archaeological excavations over the past year and his success at uncovering the oldest known coastal resources in South Africa’s Mossel Bay.

Each year Gustavus chooses a scholar from past Nobel Conference lecturers, Nobel laureates, or similarly distinguished scholars for the Rydell Professorship in-residency program. Generally these visiting professors are chosen from science fields. As a tool for enhancing learning and teaching, these influential professors motivate faculty and excite students. The Rydell Professorship visibly shows the creative and unique dedication the institution has for learning.

Although our faculty is educated and high-quality, bringing a world-class researcher, an elite scholar, to the college is so beneficial to our students and us as a faculty as we create personal connections and continue to be motivated by a role model who has greatly achieved in research,” said Tom LoFaro, associate professor of mathematics and computer science and director of the Rydell Professorship.

The Tuesday, March 10, 2009 lecture by Marean will be held at 7 p.m. in Wallenberg Auditorium, located in the Alfred Nobel Memorial Hall of Science at Gustavus Adolphus College. This lecture is titled “The Cape Floral Kingdom, Shellfish, and Modern Human Origins: Trans-disciplinary Problems require Trans-disciplinary Projects.” The lecture Wednesday, March 11, 2009 at the Science Museum of Minnesota will be at 7 p.m. and will address the questions “Where in Africa did modern humans evolve?” and “When did they become behaviorally modern and why then and at that place?” Both lectures are free and open to the public. To make reservations at the Science Museum of Minnesota, call 651-221-9444.

Drs. Robert E. and Susan T. Rydell funded the Rydell Professorship because of their interest in the interaction of students with leading scholars. Established in 1995, it was the intent of the donors to provide a rare learning experience exclusively for Gustavus. Past Rydell scholars have included: Frans B.M. de Waal, a primatologist and expert on animal behavior; Sylvester James Gates, Jr., a physicist and expert in string theory; Robert C. Gallo, a physician and expert in retroviruses especially HIV; and Margaret Geller, an expert in astrophysics and a pioneer in mapping the universe.

 

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