UAA Freshman Convocation: Saturday, August 24, 2013

3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the Wendy Williamson Auditorium on the UAA Anchorage Campus

Freshman Convocation, sponsored by the University Honors College, formally welcomes the Class of 2017 and their families to UAA, and inspires students with a sense of discovery and creativity to last them throughout their years of study.

UAA faculty and all incoming freshmen, along with their families, are invited to join Chancellor Tom Case and our distinguished keynote speaker, Brian P. Schmidt, PhD.

Brian P. SchmidtBrian P. Schmidt is a Distinguished Professor, Australian Research Council Laureate Fellow and astrophysicist at The Australian National University Mount Stromlo Observatory and Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics, and is known for his research in using supernovae as cosmological probes. He currently holds an Australia Research Council Federation Fellowship and was elected to the Royal Society in 2012. Schmidt shared both the 2006 Shaw Prize in Astronomy and the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics with Saul Perlmutter and Adam Riess for providing evidence that the expansion of the universe is accelerating. Schmidt is currently leading the SkyMapper telescope Project and the associated Southern Sky Survey.

Schmidt was born on February 24, 1967, in Missoula, Montana, where his father Dana C. Schmidt was a fisheries biologist. When he was 13, his family relocated to Anchorage, Alaska.

Schmidt attended Bartlett High School in Anchorage, Alaska, and graduated in 1985. He has said that he wanted to be a meteorologist "since I was about five-years-old" but "... I did some work at the USA National Weather Service up in Anchorage and didn't enjoy it very much. It was less scientific, not as exciting as I thought it would be—there was alot of routine. But I guess I was just a little naive about what being a meteorologist meant." His decision to study astronomy, which he had seen as "a minor pastime," was made just before he enrolled at university. He earned his BS (Physics) and BS (Astronomy) from the University of Arizona in 1989. He received his MA (Astronomy) in 1992 and then PhD (Astronomy) in 1993 from Harvard University. Schmidt's PhD thesis was supervised by Robert Kirshner and used Type II Supernovae to measure the Hubble Constant.

Professor Schmidt is passionate about the importance of educational opportunities at all levels and especially the way science is taught in primary grades. After he won the Nobel Prize he donated $100,000 of his prize money to the Australian Academy of Science primary school science program.


2:30 to 3:30 p.m.
Faculty Compact Cuddy Hall
3:00 to 3:30 p.m. UA Scholars Meet and Greet Wendy Williamson Auditorium Lobby
3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Freshman Convocation Wendy Williamson Auditorium
4:30 to 5:30 p.m. Student Dessert Social Cuddy Hall
4:30 to 5:30 p.m. Parent & Alumni Reception Cuddy Dining Room
5:00 to 7:00 p.m. UAA Campus Kickoff Cuddy Quad