Dr. Ivan Oransky will be the speaker at Founders’ Day Convocation, which will be held at noon Friday, Oct. 6, and will open Sewanee’s 2017 Family Weekend. Oransky will receive an honorary doctor of civil law degree during the ceremony. The Convocation will include the conferral of three additional honorary degrees and the induction of 275 new members into the Order of the Gown. The Convocation will be streamed live.
During the Convocation Jan Davidson, former director of the John C. Campbell Folk School, will receive an honorary doctor of fine arts; the Rev. Tom Ward, C’67 and former University chaplain, will receive an honorary doctor of divinity; and attorney Judith Ward Lineback, C’73, will receive an honorary doctor of civil law.
Please note: Due to the number of Sewanee students receiving their gowns, the University expects All Saints' Chapel to be filled to near capacity. Students who are receiving their gowns have been provided tickets for themselves and three guests. After those with tickets have been seated, seats may be available in the Chapel for other members of the University community who would like to attend the service. Guests are welcome to watch the service streaming live in Guerry Auditorium or watch online.
Ivan Oransky, M.D., is a Distinguished Writer in Residence at New York University’s Arthur Carter Journalism Institute, co-founder of Retraction Watch, and editor-at-large of medical news service MedPage Today. Oransky and Adam Marcus founded Retraction Watch in 2010. The site chronicles the continuing rise in scientific retractions and has been cited often in scientific literature as a source for better understanding of the true reasons for retraction. Oransky and Marcus also have a regular column in STAT, called “The Watchdogs.” Oransky previously served as executive editor of Reuters Health and held editorial positions at Scientific American and the Scientist. He received the 2015 John P. McGovern Award for excellence in biomedical communication from the American Medical Writers Association. He is a clinical assistant professor of medicine at the New York University School of Medicine and serves as vice president of the Association of Health Care Journalists.
Jan Davidson is a writer, musician, speaker, and the retired director of the John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, North Carolina. The school teaches Appalachian traditions—song, art, nature, gardening, cooking, storytelling, and writing—to adults in weeklong or weekend classes. During his 25-year tenure, the school’s annual student enrollment grew from 2,500 to 6,000 students, and the number of yearly classes grew fivefold. To preserve the natural beauty of the area, Davidson helped establish conservation easements and wildlife sanctuaries around the 300-acre campus. He also worked to preserve the school’s history, establishing archives and installing displays to reinforce the historic significance of the property. He co-produced “Sing Behind the Plow: John C. Campbell Folk School,” which was nominated for two regional Emmy awards. He has received awards including the North Carolina Award for Fine Arts, the state’s highest civilian honor.
While in Sewanee, Davidson will play with string band the Dog Branch Cats in a special performance at 5 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 5, in Gailor Auditorium. The band was originally formed in 1992 with fiddles, banjo, guitar, bass, and banjo ukulele. All are invited to attend.
Judith Ward Lineback, C’73, was a member of the first class of women admitted to the University of the South, and was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa at Sewanee. She received a J.D. from the University of Virginia, clerked for a U.S. District Court judge, and practiced law for 30 years. Her service to Sewanee includes work as a Trustee and as a member of the Board of Regents, of which she was the first alumna chair. During Lineback’s time on University governing boards (1980s and 1990s), the Campaign for Sewanee raised funds to construct the Fowler Center, Tennessee Williams Center, Chapel of the Apostles, and McClurg Dining Hall, and renovate Woods Labs and All Saints’ Chapel. Lineback completed the School of Theology’s four-year Education for Ministry program, and has served on the board of the National Association of Episcopal Schools.
The Rev. Thomas Reid Ward, Jr., C’67, was Sewanee’s 17th Rhodes Scholar. After graduating from the University, he earned degrees in English language and literature from Oxford University. After teaching and coaching at Meridian Junior College in Mississippi, and two years at Sewanee as an instructor in English, he earned a master of divinity degree in 1975 from Virginia Theological Seminary. For almost two decades, Ward served parishes in Mississippi and Tennessee before returning to Sewanee as University chaplain, a position he held from 1994 to 2005. In 1998, he began a practice in centering prayer, a form of meditation that encourages silence and a deeper connection to God. Ward teaches centering prayer, leads retreats, and fosters the practice in local congregations. He works closely with Contemplative Outreach, a network that seeks to foster contemplation, and has served on its advisory board since 1998.