University's Celebration of Darwin Begins with Popular Author Providing Insight on the Reluctant Researcher


During the formal opening of Case Western Reserve University's 2008-2009 academic year—Fall Convocation—author David Quammen explained to a packed Severance Hall the personal traits that led Charles Darwin to his theory of evolution: Caution and honesty.

"Charles Darwin had unusual quantities of both," said Quammen, author of The Reluctant Mr. Darwin: An Intimate Portrait of Charles Darwin and the Making of His Theory of Evolution.

That's why 21 years passed between Darwin's epiphany that the concept of natural selection formed the basis of evolution and the scientist's publication of his influential book, On the Origin of Species, Quammen said. The journey began when Darwin was only 29; the book was published when he was 50.

According to Quammen, Darwin was reluctant to publish his theory because he knew that his work would be controversial to the general public and religious communities. A similar work by another researcher, Alfred Russel Wallace, also was on the verge of being published during the same time period.

In addition, Darwin was concerned about the potential discomfort his theory would cause his family. But, ultimately, Quammen said, "science and honesty were more important. He couldn't not speak about it."

Quammen not only discussed Darwin as a reluctant researcher but also provided insight into other aspects of the man's life. For instance, Darwin was overworked and nervous, and he arrived at his plan to marry his eventual wife, Emma, like solving a math problem. Darwin read many books and philosophical theories, and "he never tried to persuade other people not to believe the Christian tenets of faith. He just stopped believing them himself," Quammen said.

Journalist Adrian Nicole LeBlanc to Give Fourth Annual Anisfield-Wolf Lecture at Case Western Reserve


Journalist Adrian Nicole LeBlanc, author of the critically acclaimed book Random Family: Love, Drugs, Trouble, and Coming of Age in the Bronx, will discuss her writings as the featured speaker for the fourth annual Anisfield-Wolf Lecture. The free, public event will take place at 12:30 p.m., Friday, September 12 in Severance Hall.

In 2004, Random Family won an Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, which recognizes recent books that have made important contributions to understanding racism and appreciation of the rich diversity of human cultures, and was named one of the 10 best books of the year by The New York Times Book Review. Read more.

Campus News

Case Daily will not publish on Monday, September 1 due to the university's observance of the Labor Day holiday. The next issue of Case Daily will be Tuesday, September 2.


All Case Western Reserve students can purchase tickets at a discounted rate of $20 for the September 5 concert to benefit the Center for Social Justice featuring musician Richie Havens. Tickets also are available to faculty and staff, as well as the general public, for $35. To purchase tickets at the discounted rate, students can either buy them directly from the Ohio Theatre box office by phone at (216) 241-6000 or online. When ordering online, students should enter "CASE" as the promotional code. Learn more about the concert and the Center for Social Justice.

For Faculty and Staff

The Case Western Reserve University Department of Music announces the 23rd season of Chapel, Court & Countryside: Early Music at Harkness, which opens September 16. The series presents three concerts by artists of international renown, bringing to life the music of earlier ages in an accessible and entertaining manner. Faculty and staff can purchase discounted tickets: $63 for the entire series, or only $23 for single tickets. Read more.

Applications are due September 2 for the Women Staff Leadership Development Initiative. Offered to full-time women staff at Case Western Reserve, the program aims to nurture and develop talent by helping women staff cultivate their leadership skills. For guidelines, application forms and more information, go to the Flora Stone Mather Center for Women Web site.

For Students

The university's Big Brothers Big Sisters program will host an information session at 7 p.m., September 3 in Thwing Center, Meeting Room A. Students are invited to learn about the program and how to become a mentor. Contact Rebecca Owens or Jessica Pekala with questions.


Thwing Center's Annual Plant and Poster Sale continues today through 6 p.m. in Thwing Center's ballroom. The plant sale includes assorted plants ranging from $3-$12, while the poster sale includes thousands of art, music, film and photography images. Sponsored by Thwing Center and the Student Activities & Leadership Office.

The views and opinions of those invited to speak on campus do not necessarily reflect the views of the university administration or any other segment of the university community.

Et al


The Weatherhead School of Management announces the appointment of Jagdip Singh as the H. Clark Ford Professor of Marketing. This prestigious chair is named in honor of Cleveland real estate and banking pioneer H. Clark Ford. In 1992, Singh received the university's John S. Diekhoff award for excellence in graduate teaching, and in 1997 was presented with Weatherhead's Research Recognition Award for outstanding contributions to research. In 2007, he was honored with the Excellence in Doctoral Teaching and Mentoring award. Singh teaches graduate students in courses including marketing research, quantitative inquiry and research methodology.

David Crane, chief prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone, invited the chief prosecutors of the international criminal tribunals for a unique two days of discussion about the laws of war. Guests such as Sandra Day O'Connor and the surviving Nuremberg trial lawyers, including Case Western Reserve University School of Law Professor Henry King, were invited to attend, as well as international prosecutors from the present day tribunals. In collaboration with the Frederick K. Cox International Law Center, the gathering was held earlier this week in Chautauqua, N.Y.

There was a correction made in the 2007 University Hospitals Annual report regarding research support awarded and conducted by faculty at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. University Hospitals has issued a correction posted at and School of Medicine Dean Pamela B. Davis issued a memo to the medical school community outlining the errors at

August 29, 2008

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Case in the News

Making it easier for law students to work for 'greater good'

Cleveland Jewish News, August 28, 2008
Daniel Leathers, a third-year student at the Case Western Reserve University School of Law, could be a poster boy for the school's fledgling Center for Social Justice. This summer, the Pittsburgh native chose to accept a pro bono internship at Cleveland's Legal Aid Society.

Case Western Reserve students support Obama with watch party, August 29, 2008
Among those closely watching Barack Obama's acceptance speech last night were about 50 people gathered at Case Western Reserve University. Related article.

Medicare releases hospitals' death rates for pneumonia, heart attacks and heart failure

The Plain Dealer, August 20, 2008
Three hospitals in Northeast Ohio stand out for treatment of pneumonia, according to data recently released by Medicare. The information includes for the first time specific death rates for patients treated for pneumonia, heart attacks and heart failure. J.B. Silvers, professor of health systems management at Case Western Reserve University, comments about how consumers might use the information.

Donors enhance body of knowledge

Crain's Cleveland Business, August 18, 2008

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Thousands of residents in the region have signed universal donor cards, which will allow their bodies to be donated to a college medical facility upon death. Altruism is one of the motivators behind donating one's body to the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, said Charles Maier, director of the school's human body donation program. The donations are used to teach normal human anatomy to the school's medical, graduate anatomy, nursing and dental students.

Higher Ed News

Colleges cherry-pick from big pool as enrollment boom hits its peak

The Buffalo News, August 29, 2008
Colleges back for the fall semester find themselves at the peak of an enrollment boom. But the bubble is about to burst. While the numbers coming out of high school have been growing steadily since the early 1990s to reach this year’s apex, projections show a dip in traditional college-age students on the horizon.

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