Third SEC Symposium To Focus On Creativity, Innovation & Entrepreneurship

01/29/2015 10:18 AM

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The third-annual Southeastern Conference Symposium will be held Sept. 20-22 at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta, and this year’s event is titled “Creativity, Innovation & Entrepreneurship: Driving a 21st Century Economy.”


Led by the University of Florida, the 2015 SEC Symposium will focus on the role universities play in preparing students to be entrepreneurial, innovative and creative thinkers and will explore the ways universities impact the economy.


“The exciting work these days is in the problems between the boundaries of disciplines, so we’re going to bring together art with engineering, for example,” said Joe Glover, University of Florida Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs. “Universities are often the organizations generating new ideas – the ideas that become new products or inventions. Universities also play a vital role in building the economy, which is what entrepreneurship is really about.”


Each day of the three-day SEC Symposium will have a specific focus: Creativity at the Intersection of the Arts and Other Disciplines on Sunday, Sept. 20; Innovation in Education on Monday, Sept. 21; and New Paradigms in IP Management on Tuesday, Sept. 22.


“The program developed by the University of Florida is an intriguing combination of formal presentations and interaction,” said Torie Johnson, Executive Director of the SEC’s academic initiative. “The SEC Symposium will still feature talks from SEC faculty, but participants will also have the opportunity to participate in smaller sessions designed to share best practices.”


Keynote speakers for the 2015 SEC Symposium include Liz Lerman, 2002 MacArthur “Genius Grant” Fellow and 2011 United States Artists Ford Fellow in Dance; Don Millard, Acting Division Director, Engineering Education and Centers, National Science Foundation; and Tony Boccanfuso, Executive Director, University Industry Demonstration Partnership, National Academies.


Lerman founded the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange in 1976 and was an artist-in-residence and visiting lecturer at Harvard University in the fall of 2011. In 2013 she curated Wesleyan University’s symposium, “Innovations: Intersection of Art and Science,” which brought together artists and scientists from across North America. Her collection of essays, “Hiking the Horizontal: Field Notes from a Choreographer,” was published in 2011 and was released in paperback in May 2014.


Millard is involved in the Innovation Corps Program and leads the Transforming Undergraduate Education in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, or STEM, Program at the NSF. Prior to joining NSF, he was Director of Engineering Education at the Academy of Electronic Media at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He founded the Mobile Studio project and holds a patent for the development of a laser-induced, plasma-based Non-Contact Electrical Pathway.


Boccanfuso is a leading expert on high value, high return university-industry partnerships who works in academic and corporate communities to advance collaborations and to promote the nation’s economic competitiveness. Currently, he spearheads the development of a series of initiatives to catalyze partnerships and reduce barriers to university-industry collaborations. He holds a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the University of South Carolina.


Established by the SEC Presidents and Chancellors in 2013 to address a significant scholarly issue by utilizing the range of disciplinary strengths of the SEC’s 14 member universities, previous SEC Symposiums have focused on obesity prevention and renewable energy.


For more information, contact Sean Cartell at or 205-458-3000, or Bryant Welbourne at or 205-949-8960.

Ernie  Ballard 
LSU Media Relations

Posted on Thursday, January 29, 2015