Michael Alec Rose

Michael Alec Rose

Michael Alec Rose is a composer of symphonic, chamber, piano, vocal, wind ensemble, ballet, and theater music.  His music has been performed widely in the United States, as well as in Europe and South America. With renowned violinist Peter Sheppard Skaerved, he co-directed six rounds of an International Exchange Program between Vanderbilt and the Royal Academy of Music, London (2005-2016), culminating in the premiere of Il Ritorno: Perambulation for Solo Violin, sponsored in part by the Dartmoor National Park Authority (June, 2016).  This piece appears on a CD of works for solo violin and violin-viola duo on the Métier label.

A retrospective of Rose’s song cycles and solo piano music (“News of the Universe”) was presented at the National Opera Center in New York in 2015.  In October 2017, Rose’s Sixth Quartet (“Rousseaux”) and Fourth Viola Sonata (“Canticle”) were premiered.  A solo piano suite, Musica senza rumore was inspired by paintings in the Doria Pamphilj Gallery in Rome.  Another piece inspired by artworks is Rose’s Three Interventions, commissioned by Austin Camerata for their collaboration with the Blanton Museum of Art (May 2018 premiere).  Rose’s opera Lolly Willowes, based on Sylvia Townsend Warner’s novel, was premiered at MATCH (Houston, Texas) in April 2019, partially funded by the maximum development grant of the Houston Arts Alliance, and with the blessing of the author’s estate.  The Seventh Quartet (“Maine Title: Sun, Sea, Land”) was premiered by the Cassatt String Quartet at the Seal Bay Festival of American Chamber Music in July of this year.  Rose is now collaborating with the California painter Ali Smith on an exhibition of her works at the Vanderbilt Fine Arts Gallery in the spring of 2020 (“Dream for Light Years”).

Rose’s first book, Audible Signs: Essays from a Musical Ground, was published by Continuum Bloomsbury Books in 2010. His essays have appeared in Brooklyn Rail and Literary Imagination.  He has received 30 ASCAP Plus awards.  Rose teaches at Vanderbilt University's Blair School of Music.  He has won three university-wide teaching awards at Vanderbilt, including a Chair of Teaching Excellence.

More information and SoundCloud links can be found at https://michaelalecrose.com.

Stephen Ressler

Stephen Ressler

Dr. Stephen Ressler is Professor Emeritus from the United States Military Academy at West Point and a Distinguished Member of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). A registered Professional Engineer in Virginia, he earned a B.S. from West Point and an M.S. and a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from Lehigh University, as well as a Master of Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College.

Professor Ressler's papers on engineering education have won seven Best Paper awards from the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE). Professor Ressler has also won numerous awards from the ASCE, including the President's Medal and the 2011 Outstanding Projects and Leaders Award-the organizations highest award.

His other accolades include the Bliss Medal for Outstanding Contributions to Engineering Education from the Society of American Military Engineers and the Norm Augustine Award for Outstanding Achievement in Engineering Communications from the American Association of Engineering Societies.

Professor Ressler served for 34 years as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and retired at the rank of Brigadier General in 2013. While on active duty, he served in a variety of military engineering assignments around the world. He is also a developer and principal instructor for the Excellence in Civil Engineering Education Teaching Workshop, which has trained more than 500 civil engineering faculty members from more than 200 colleges and universities.

Ramon Resa, MD

Ramon Resa, MD

Dr. Ramon Resa was raised in the tiny community of Goshen, California near Fresno, by his grandparents, as one of 15 children.  His world was one of poverty, neglect, abuse, and total disregard for education.  As a child, he struggled with low self-esteem, a speech impediment, recurring depression and prejudice.

Dr. Resa credits his grade school teachers with opening his eyes to the idea of going to college and becoming a doctor.

Through Dr. Resa's public appearances, his keynote speeches, his blogs, and his book, Dr. Resa has educated and inspired parents, students, educators, medical professionals, and business groups across the country to keep hopes and dreams alive, even when there is no visible evidence that our dreams can come true.

Upon completing his medical education, Dr. Resa returned to the San Joaquin Valley to open his pediatric practice in Porterville, CA, where he has spent 3 decades working with poor and underserved children, like the child he was.

He presented to our local students during the Student Ideas Festival.

Gary Pomerantz

Gary Pomerantz

Gary M. Pomerantz, historian, journalist, and Stanford University lecturer, is the author of six nonfiction books on topics ranging from history to sports to civil rights. His most recent, The Last Pass, a New York Times bestseller about an old man coming to terms with his racial regrets, centers on Boston Celtics legends Bob Cousy and Bill Russell, both Presidential Medal of Freedom winners.

Pomerantz’s first book, Where Peachtree Meets Sweet Auburn, a biography of Atlanta, was named a New York Times Notable Book of the Year.

He also authored WILT, 1962, about Wilt Chamberlain’s legendary 100-point game, Nine Minutes, Twenty Seconds, about an aviation crash, The Devil’s Tickets about a Jazz Age murder and trial; and Their Life’s Work, a narrative about the 1970’s Pittsburgh Steelers that explores football’s gifts and costs.

For the past thirteen years, he has taught reporting and writing at Stanford’s Graduate Program in Journalism.

Stephen Palumbi

STEPHEN R. PALUMBI is a Professor of Biology, based at Stanford’s marine lab in Monterey. He has used genetic detective work to identify whales for sale in retail markets, and is genetically mapping corals resistant to climate change.

Steve’s latest book for non-scientists is about the amazing species in the sea, written with Steve’s son and novelist Anthony. The Extreme Life of the Sea tells you about the fastest species in the sea, and hottest, coldest, oldest etc. Steve started the video production company Short Attention Span Science Theatre, and appears in many films and TV series about the sea.

Lately he has been sitting in as bass player for the Seattle rock band Direct Divide when they can’t find anyone without grey hair!

MORE INFO: www.stanford.edu/group/Palumbi/PeoplePages/Steve.html

He presented to our local students at the Student Ideas Festival.


Ed Murphy

Dr. Edward M. Murphy is Associate Professor, General Faculty at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. He earned his bachelor's degree in Astronomy from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and his Ph.D. in Astronomy from the University of Virginia in 1996. Professor Murphy was a postdoctoral fellow and an associate research scientist at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, where he worked on NASA's Far Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer (FUSE). In 2000 he joined the faculty at the University of Virginia, where he continues to use FUSE, along with radio telescopes, in his research on the interstellar medium.

Professor Murphy teaches courses on introductory astronomy and intelligent life in the universe to undergraduates, as well as seminars on how to teach astronomy to graduate students. He also offers evening classes for the local community at the historical Leander McCormick Observatory.

He was named a Teaching and Technology Fellow in 2002-2003 and an Ernest Boots Mead Honored Faculty Fellow in 2003-2004. Dr. Murphy gives astronomy talks, appears regularly on local radio, and leads professional development workshops for teachers. He has also worked with the Science Museum of Virginia to develop planetarium shows and exhibits.

He presented to our local students during the Student Ideas Festival.

Gary Mule Deer

Gary Mule Deer

Gary Mule Deer’s comedy and music have set him apart as one-of-a-kind.  He has performed on every major concert stage in the country and made over 360 television appearances, including many on both The Tonight Show and David Letterman.  He was one of six comedians, along with Jay Leno,   to star on the first HBO Comedy Special, was the comedy host of Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert for four years on NBC, and a series regular on Make Me Laugh. He is currently featured on the DVDs  Jeff Foxworthy’s Comedy Classics and The World’s Greatest Stand-up Comedy Collection, and is one of the most played comedians on Sirius XM’s Laugh USA.

For over five decades, Gary has entertained in Las Vegas, Reno, Lake Tahoe, and Atlantic City, and shared the stage with over 100 music legends. Gary is a regular performer on the Grand Ole Opry, and has also been touring with Johnny Mathis and the orchestra as special guest since 1994.

In addition to his well-known comedy he is a talented singer and musician, performing classic country, including the music of Johnny Cash, for over 50 years.  Gary Mule Deer is currently the subject of an upcoming documentary by VIA Productions of Memphis.

An avid golfer, Gary has participated in hundreds of celebrity/charity golf events, including the AT&T Pebble Beach.

“This is the funniest man in America.”         Clint Eastwood

 “You’re the greatest, the funniest.…always were.”        Steve Martin

“If I had to go to just one comedian for a guaranteed laugh, it would be Gary Mule Deer.”           Jeff Foxworthy

  “One of the funniest guys I’ve ever met in my life, and I really like his singing.”   Vince Gill


Helen Mirren

Helen Mirren is one of the best known and most respected actresses with an international career that spans stage, screen and television and has won many awards for her powerful and versatile performances, including the Academy Award in 2007 for her performance in The Queen. 

Theatre – Helen began her career playing Cleopatra with the National Youth Theatre.   She then appeared in rep in Manchester and from there she joined the Royal Shakespeare Company.  After four notable years at the RSC Helen took a complete change of direction, when she went to work with renowned director Peter Brook’s theatre company Centre de Recherche Théâtral and toured Africa and America.  Since then her theatre work has spanned numerous productions in the West End, the Fringe, the RSC, the National Theatre and Broadway in the US including A Month in the Country, for which she received a Tony nomination and The Dance of Death on Broadway opposite Ian McKellan. In February 2015 The Audience transferred to the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre, New York with Helen Mirren still in the title role, for which she won the Tony Awards for Best Actress.

Film – Helen’s film career began with Michael Powell’s Age of Consent and other early work included Caligula, but her breakthrough role came in John Mackenzie’s The Long Good Friday. Helen continued to make films throughout the 80s including Excaliber, Cal (Best Actress award at Cannes Film Festival), White Nights (directed by Taylor Hackford, her husband), Mosquito Coast and in 1989 Peter Greenaway’s The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover.  She earned her first Academy Award nomination for her performance as Queen Charlotte in The Madness of King George and her second for her role as the housekeeper in Robert Altman’s Gosford Park. Helen’s most celebrated role was as Elizabeth II in Stephen Frear’s The Queen for which she won the Academy Award for Best Actress and numerous other awards throughout the world. In recent years she has starred in Calendar GirlsThe Clearing, ShadowboxerState of PlayThe Last Station (for which she received another Best Actress Academy Award nomination together with a Golden Globe nomination for her role as Countess Sofya Tolstoy), Love Ranch (directed by Taylor Hackford), The TempestRedArthurBrighton Rock and The Debt.  2013 saw the release of Hitchcock where Helen played Hitchcock’s wife Alma Reville to Anthony Hopkins Hitchcock (her performance was nominated for a Golden Globe and a BAFTA). She reprised her role as the retired British spy Victoria in RED2 with Bruce Willis and John Malkovich and voiced the character Dean Hardscrabble for Disney/Pixar’s Monster’s University.   Helen’s most recent film projects can be found under Current Projects on this site. 

Television – Helen’s first leading role in television was as Cousin Bette for the BBC in the 70’s  Other BBC work at that time included The Changeling, The Philanthropist and the outstanding 1979 production of Denis Potter’s Blue Remembered Hills.  However it was in the award-winning series Prime Suspect as DCI Jane Tennison that Helen became a household name in television. Written by Lynda La Plante as a single TV drama it spawned another 4 series in the 90s.  Helen reprised the role in 2003 and the final Prime Suspect was released in 2006, bringing this iconic role to its conclusion and for which she won an Emmy for Best Actress.  Her performance in the television role in Elizabeth I won her an Emmy and a Golden Globe for Best Actress.  Her most recent television role was in David Mamet’s Phil Spector for HBO Films where she starred alongside Al Pacino as Spector’s lawyer Linda Kenney Baden.  For this role she won a SAG award for Best Actress and was nominated for a Golden Globe.  Please see Current Projects for more information.

Helen Mirren was appointed a Dame of the British Empire in 2003.

John McWhorter

John H. McWhorter is an associate professor of English and comparative literature at Columbia University. He earned his B.A. from Rutgers, his M.A. from New York University, and his Ph.D. in linguistics from Stanford. Professor McWhorter has taught the American Studies seminar "Language in America," a study of American linguistic history that considered Native American languages, immigrant languages, creole languages, and Black English -- their development, interactions, and preservation. He has also taught the seminar "Language Contact," which focused specifically on the mixture of language in North America, and studied the development of creoles, pidgins, koines, "vehicular" languages, and nonstandard dialects. The seminar considered perceived legitimacy of languages, and the standing of language mixtures in media and education.

Professor McWhorter is an author of more than a dozen books including The Power of Babel: A Natural History of Language, Losing the Race: Self Sabotage in Black America and Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue: The Untold History of English. In 2016 he published Words on the Move: Why English Won't - and Can't - Sit Still (Like, Literally)He also regularly contributes to newspapers and magazines including The New Republic and The Atlantic.

Students might be particularly interested in his article on how immigrants change languages in The Atlantic and an essay on policing the "N-word" in Time.

He presented to our local students during the Student Ideas Festival.

Felix J. Lockman

Felix J. Lockman

Felix J. Lockman, Ph.D., is the Green Bank Telescope Principal Scientist at the Green Bank Observatory, a facility of the National Science Foundation. He did his undergraduate work at Drexel University and received his Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Dr. Lockman's area of research is the structure and evolution of the Milky Way and nearby galaxies, with a special emphasis on radio observations of neutral hydrogen. He was project scientist for the Green Bank Telescope during its construction phase and then moved to the Green Bank Observatory, where he was the site director for six years.

Dr. Lockman's research has involved studies of the ionized, neutral atomic, and molecular gas in the Milky Way and nearby galaxies. He has published numerous articles in professional journals and edited several books, including Gaseous Halos of Galaxies and But It Was Fun: The First Forty Years of Radio Astronomy at Green Bank. Dr. Lockman's 1990 review article on hydrogen in the Milky Way, coauthored with Dr. John M. Dickey of the University of Tasmania, is the most cited publication in the history of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory.

In 2013, he was elected as a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in recognition of his significant studies of neutral hydrogen in our galaxy and others, and for his service to U.S. radio astronomy.