Humanities Seminars Program Hosts Lauretta Lecture

February 19th, 2019

A sold-out Humanities Seminars Program lecture by OSIRIS-REx principal investigator Dante Lauretta is more than just a chance to learn the latest about the asteroid sample return mission.

The event doubles as a fundraiser for students, now and in the future, who combine science and humanities, as Lauretta has since graduating from the University of Arizona with a triple major in Japanese, physics and theoretical math.

The Feb. 19 lecture, “Science and the Humanities: An Integrated Approach to Solar System Exploration,” is tailored specifically for students in the interdisciplinary, lifelong learning Humanities Seminars Program.

“I wanted to show Dante that this audience is incredibly interested in what he has to say. It’s a wonderful experience to teach to this audience because they learn all they can,” says Karen Junghans, Chair of the Humanities Seminars Program Board.

Junghans organized the lecture starting in December. Lauretta and the College of Humanities produced the BENNUVAL variety show to coincide with the OSIRIS-REx arrival at the asteroid Bennu. Coinciding with the event was an auction to raise scholarship funds for the new Dante S. Lauretta And M. Katherine Crombie Award. Junghans submitted the winning bid for a lecture with Lauretta.

“The minute I saw that one could bid on a lecture by this world-renowned scientist, I wanted to leverage that for HSP,” she says. “I loved that idea that Dante wanted to marry science and the humanities. My husband is a scientist and I was a Spanish major, so that appealed to me. We absolutely need both in our world.”

The lecture sold out quickly and will contribute an additional $2,300 to the scholarship fund.

The Dante S. Lauretta and M. Katherine Crombie Award is the first interdisciplinary scholarship of its kind at the University of Arizona. Applicants must have declared either a major or minor in both the College of Humanities and the College of Science. Full-time juniors, seniors or graduate students are eligible. Lauretta was the 2017 recipient of the College of Humanities Alumnus of the Year Award.

“So many of my goals for HSP can be met with this one lecture,” Junghans says. “It’s good for us, good for the College of Humanities and good for the scholarship fund that will support students.”