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39 minutes | May 17, 2018
The Zeppos Report #22 with Jami Cox and Ryan Connor
Before Vanderbilt Student Government President Jami Cox and Vice President Ryan Connor walked across the Commencement stage, they joined Vanderbilt Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos for one last visit as undergraduates. The conversation is the latest episode of The Zeppos Report. When asked if they distinctly remember the first time they stepped foot on the Vanderbilt campus, Cox and Connor reply with a simultaneous “Yes!” Connor says his first moment on the Vanderbilt campus was during a visit to Belmont University for a music competition. “I stepped onto Wyatt Lawn and was awestruck,” Connor said. “I pulled up the Wikipedia article for Vanderbilt and started reading through it, then I texted my dad saying ‘I think I’m going to apply early decision to Vanderbilt.’” On the podcast, Cox shares about her first time coming to Vanderbilt during MOSAIC weekend. “I came in February, it was cold, and I arrived with my little sleeping bag and duffle bag—I was very nervous because I had never spent time on a college campus before. But Vanderbilt was beautiful and I fell in love with it then,” Cox said. Cox and Connor met in a first-year seminar class called “Making Connections.” During the class, they each mapped out their goals for their four years at Vanderbilt and took action steps to achieve them. Two years later, they were elected student body president and vice president. Connor is now preparing to begin a job with McKinsey & Company in Denver, Colo. Cox is a Schwarzman scholar who will pursue a master’s in global affairs at Tshinghua University in Beijing, China. “For those of us who choose to devote themselves to education and life on a college campus, that’s why we do what we do. It is all about the ability of seeing someone go on to do amazing things and to be a part of the journey,” Zeppos said. The podcast is available on SoundCloud, Stitcher, Google Play, iTunes, YouTube and The Zeppos Report website.
34 minutes | Apr 16, 2018
The Zeppos Report #21 with Amitav Ghosh
Amitav Ghosh, a best-selling author whose work puts Asia at the center of global history, culture and environmental challenges, lectured on campus April 4 as part of Vanderbilt Asian Studies' 50th anniversary. Before his talk, Ghosh joined Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos on The Zeppos Report. Ghosh, whose books have been translated into more than 20 languages, is the author of The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable. On the podcast, he discusses why people are less interested today in issues surrounding climate change than 20 years ago. "For many years now we've taught young people that the economy will only get bigger," he said. "The world will produce more and more things. You'll have a bigger cell phone and car, for example. This other stuff (about climate change) doesn't fit into that framework." Zeppos discussed with Ghosh how the effects of climate change might make high-priced real estate in U.S. locations near water—like Miami Beach or New York City—uninhabitable in just a few decades. Their conversation also focused on how countries like China and India have taken steps to respond to the environmental impact of advances in industrialization. "China is a country which is actually adapting very, very fast," Ghosh said. "One of the reasons why that happening is precisely because they see commercial opportunities.” Ghosh stressed that Asian countries will not scale back on industrialization until the West does. Ghosh, who divides his time between homes in Brooklyn, Kolkata and rural Goa, noted that he has warned his own mother about the dangers of living in a high flood-prone area. She looked at him like he was "mad' to even suggest moving somewhere else. Ghosh said that is the problem that all of us face in dealing with climate change—inertia. The podcast is available on SoundCloud, Stitcher, Google Play, iTunes, YouTube and The Zeppos Report website For a transcript of this podcast please go to this link: https://s3.amazonaws.com/vu-wp0/wp-content/uploads/sites/79/2018/04/13185558/The_Zeppos_Report_21_Amitav_Ghosh-Transcript-Edited.docx Follow Vanderbilt on Twitter: https://twitter.com/vanderbiltu, on Instagram: http://instagram.com/vanderbiltu and on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/vanderbilt. See all Vanderbilt social media at http://social.vanderbilt.edu.
48 minutes | Apr 2, 2018
The Zeppos Report #20 with Chris Matthews
A bestselling author and host of MSNBC's Hardball, Chris Matthews visited campus on March 27 for a Chancellor's Lecture. Before the event, he joined Vanderbilt Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos in his office for the latest edition of The Zeppos Report. Matthews' newest bestselling book, Bobby Kennedy: A Raging Spirit (Simon & Schuster, 2017), explores unifying characteristics of the politician during tumultuous times in history. On the podcast, he notes differences between Bobby and the rest of the Kennedy family. “What I like about Bobby is that he rode the crossover point,” said Matthews, “He would say that we need law and order, but we must also look out for the people that the system is tough on.” Zeppos and Matthews discuss the changing dynamics of American politics over the past decades and the pendulum effect that often takes place in election cycles. Matthews describes each change in the presidency as a reaction to what came before. To him, the election of Donald Trump is no different. “A lot of the division that we see today started in 1968. Since then, we’ve always been trying to fix the problem,” Matthews said. When Zeppos asked about the state of the media today, Matthews seized the opportunity for some self-reflection. “Television news today is a modern version of the old afternoon newspaper op-ed pages. You head home after work and everything from the day is there, right in front of you.” The podcast is available on SoundCloud, Stitcher, Google Play, iTunes, YouTube and The Zeppos Report website.
44 minutes | Mar 12, 2018
The Zeppos Report #19 with Carly Fiorina
After the 2016 GOP presidential primary race, former Hewlett-Packard executive Carly Fiorina refocused her energy towards equipping leaders from all walks of life. Fiorina discusses her leadership philosophy with Vanderbilt Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos on the latest episode on The Zeppos Report. She visited campus Feb. 20 to participate in a Chancellor’s Lecture entitled “Redefining Leadership: Crafting Civic Virtues in America.” “Leaders don’t worry about winning or losing, leaders focus on solving problems and improving the circumstances,” Fiorina said. On the podcast, Fiorina explains how her new project, the Unlocking Potential Foundation, strengthens the core elements of American civil society. The foundation works to empower and train the leaders of nonprofit organizations. She also argues that equity, diversity and inclusion are essential elements for success. “Diversity isn’t a nice 'to do' anymore. If you really want to be successful, you better have a diverse workforce. You’re going to miss something really big and important unless you have a diverse set of opinions and points of view,” Fiorina said. Throughout the conversation, Zeppos and Fiorina dive deeply into the key elements necessary for engaged citizenship to flourish in America. They agree that while technology has allowed for more activity and political discourse, it may also be encouraging civic passivity. Zeppos points out that institutions like universities provide the bedrock for a healthy democracy. “There must be a focus on more than just the government or the individual—intermediary institutions like universities, churches and libraries must be nourished, too. We are the bulwarks for liberty,” Zeppos said. When asked about running for office again, Fiorina leaves the door open. “Never say never, I have no regrets about my run,” said Fiorina. “We’ll see what the future holds.” For a transcript of this podcast, please go to this URL: https://s3.amazonaws.com/vu-wp0/wp-content/uploads/sites/79/2018/03/09205333/The_Zeppos_Report_19_Transcript_with_Carly_Fiorina.docx The podcast is available on SoundCloud, Stitcher, Google Play, iTunes, YouTube and The Zeppos Report website.
48 minutes | Feb 26, 2018
The Zeppos Report #18 with Jelani Cobb
Professor and author Jelani Cobb preceded his keynote address to the Vanderbilt community with a conversation about free speech and open inquiry on college campuses. In the latest episode of The Zeppos Report, Vanderbilt University Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos engages Cobb, the Ira A. Lipman Professor of Journalism at Columbia University, in a discussion about the historical narratives of race in America. The two stress the importance of leaning into the tough conversations in university settings. Cobb notes that discomfort is appropriate in the classroom when it prompts his students to discover new facets of American history. “I show lynching images in my classes. That is not supposed to be a fun experience,” Cobb said. “Faculty across the spectrum want students to be uncomfortable,” Zeppos added. “I hope that, when my students leave here, they have the intellectual dexterity to thoughtfully engage with somebody who disagrees with them.” In the podcast, Zeppos references the announcement of The Center for Sports and Society. He asks Cobb to share his thoughts on the connection between sports and race relations in America. “On a basic level, because of the market share that sports has in American life, it has allowed people to have conversations and engage in ways that they might not otherwise,” Cobb said. Cobb, a staff writer for The New Yorker, spoke at Langford Auditorium Jan. 17 as part of the Chancellor’s Lecture Series. The event was titled “From Louis Armstrong to the NFL: Racial Protest in America.” For a transcript of this podcast, please go to: https://s3.amazonaws.com/vu-wp0/wp-content/uploads/sites/79/2018/02/27162022/Zeppos_Report_17_with_Jelani_Cobb.docx The podcast is available on SoundCloud, Stitcher, Google Play, iTunes, YouTube and The Zeppos Report website.
35 minutes | Feb 12, 2018
The Zeppos Report #17 with Jon Meacham
On Feb. 6, a week after President Donald Trump’s first State of the Union Address, Pulitzer Prize-winner and Visiting Distinguished Professor Jon Meacham sat down to discuss the president’s first year in office on the latest episode of The Zeppos Report podcast. “Let’s start with some general reactions to the president’s first year. … Do we have to nest him in some sort of historical context before we jump too far ahead to say there’s never been anything like this before?” Vanderbilt Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos asked to open the conversation. Meacham said he views the Trump presidency so far as being unprecedented in “tone and culture.” But when it comes to the actual policy, he thinks Trump is operating within a traditional Republican orthodoxy. “I don’t think another Republican actually would have ruled, in substance, much differently,” Meacham said. “One of the things about Trump is it’s damn near impossible to separate the style from the substance because the style, frankly, is for some repellent and for others refreshing.” Throughout the conversation Meacham and Zeppos compared Trump to earlier historical eras, including the McCarthy hearings, the Nixon White House and the Vietnam War. They also touched on this year’s upcoming congressional elections, pointing to the Tennessee race for U.S. Senate between Republican Marsha Blackburn and Democrat Phil Bredesen as a race that could have national implications. Meacham often joins Zeppos for on-stage discussions as part of the roundtable format of the Chancellor’s Lecture Series. He is the author of American Lion, a biography of Andrew Jackson, which won a Pulitzer Prize in 2009. His latest book, Destiny and Power, a biography of George Herbert Walker Bush, was a No. 1 New York Times bestseller and named one of the year’s best books by both the Washington Post and the New York Times. The podcast is available on SoundCloud, Stitcher, Google Play, iTunes, YouTube and The Zeppos Report website.
24 minutes | Jan 22, 2018
The Zeppos Report #16 with Michael Eric Dyson
Before Michael Eric Dyson, University Professor of Sociology at Georgetown University, took the stage at Langford Auditorium for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Series, he conversed with Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos about core American ideals that often emerge in the national discourse when remembering King’s legacy. In the latest episode of The Zeppos Report, Dyson acknowledges the profound impact that King brought about in his own intellectual journey. “When I saw him on television, it instantly attracted me to the use of words to move people,” Dyson said. Dyson is known by many as a “hip-hop public intellectual” that discovers the seams binding religion, pop culture and social justice together. Some of his first published works, such as Between God and Gangsta Rap: Bearing Witness to Black Culture (Oxford University Press, 1996), speak candidly to the intersections of racial justice, spiritual praxis and mainstream American media. His newest work, Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America (St. Martin’s, 2017), provides unique insights into Dyson’s personal worldview shaped by his years as a Baptist minister and trained sociologist. “Justice is what love sounds like when it speaks in public,” said Dyson, quoting his book. In the podcast, Zeppos moves the conversation toward the pertinent topic of race and sports in America, citing Vanderbilt’s newly announced Center for Sports and Society as an important step in exploring the role of this cultural intersection. Dyson and Zeppos both agree that sports remains an important catalyst in American contemporary life. “Sports certainly provides a mirror that reflects division, struggle, but also the formation of community among people,” Zeppos said. The podcast is available on SoundCloud, Stitcher, Google Play, iTunes, YouTube and The Zeppos Report website. For a transcript of this podcast, please go to: https://s3.amazonaws.com/vu-wp0/wp-content/uploads/sites/69/2018/01/31130236/The_Zeppos_Report_16_with_Michael_Eric_Dyson.docx
40 minutes | Dec 12, 2017
The Zeppos Report #15 with Alberto Gonzales
Former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales’ commitment to public service has been actualized in varying capacities over the years. “I quickly realized what a privilege it was to serve our country,” said Gonzales, “Although I was a poor kid from a poor family, I felt like an equal.” In the latest episode of The Zeppos Report, Gonzales joins fellow legal scholar Vanderbilt Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos to discuss his upbringing in a town called Humble, Tex., his current role as dean of the Belmont University College of Law, and much of the in-between. Gonzales began working for George W. Bush in 1994 as general counsel when Bush was governor of Texas. He continued to serve in government for over a decade, following Bush to the White House upon his election in 2000 before leaving his post as attorney general in 2007. He is the highest-ranking Hispanic-American in executive government to date. After stepping away from Washington, Gonzales turned to higher education as his next outlet for service. He began work in the diversity office at Texas Tech University in 2009, crafting a leadership development program for minority students attending the institution. “I do not believe that we as a country can remain strong unless we promote others. Everyone—no matter their skin color, no matter their last name, no matter their address,” Gonzales said. In the podcast, Zeppos echoes this sentiment and points to the excitement involved with educating young people from various backgrounds. “Our jobs are the ultimate optimist jobs,” Zeppos said. “We certainly have our challenges on our campuses, but I do think that if people came and sat at our desk and walked around our campuses they would say, ‘Wow, we've got a lot to look forward to.’” The podcast is available on SoundCloud, Stitcher, Google Play, iTunes, YouTube and The Zeppos Report website. Follow Vanderbilt on Twitter: https://twitter.com/vanderbiltu, on Instagram: http://instagram.com/vanderbiltu and on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/vanderbilt. See all Vanderbilt social media at http://social.vanderbilt.edu.
41 minutes | Nov 27, 2017
The Zeppos Report #14 with Andrew Maraniss
On the latest episode of The Zeppos Report, bestselling author and writer-in-residence Andrew Maraniss tells Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos that his journey to Vanderbilt started with a poster on the wall of a high school in Austin, Texas. That is where he first learned about the Fred Russell–Grantland Rice scholarship—an award for Vanderbilt students interested in pursuing a career in sports journalism. He received the scholarship in 1988 and put his passion into action a year later when he first interviewed Perry Wallace, the first African American varsity athlete to play basketball in the Southeastern Conference, for a black history class. “I remember sitting on the floor of my dormitory, scribbling in a notebook and feeling like the world was opening up to me as I talked to the most impressive person I had ever talked to before,” Maraniss said. Twenty-five years later, Maraniss made the final edits to his detailed account of Wallace’s groundbreaking story. Strong Inside: Perry Wallace and the Collision of Race and Sports in the South (Vanderbilt University Press) was released in 2014. The book has now been featured as the Commons Reading for first-year students during the last two years. This year also marks the 50th anniversary of integration in the SEC. Perry Wallace and his teammate, Godfrey Dillard, were the first African American players to step onto SEC basketball courts in hostile environments across the deep South. Maraniss considers this moment to be notable, but his conversations with Wallace have revealed something even more impressive about his story. “The most courageous thing that Perry Wallace ever did wasn’t stepping on the basketball court in Starkville or Oxford, it was telling the truth when he knew that people didn’t want to hear it,” Maraniss said. In the podcast, Maraniss says that the journey that Wallace endured during his time at Vanderbilt opened the door for diversity to become a strong asset for the institution. “It’s the only way that we’ll move forward,” Zeppos said. “Vanderbilt is always going to look different. If it doesn’t, then we won’t survive.” For a transcript of this podcast, please go to this URL: https://s3.amazonaws.com/vu-wp0/wp-content/uploads/sites/79/2017/11/28151458/Zeppos_Report_14_with_Andrew_Maraniss.docx Follow Vanderbilt on Twitter: https://twitter.com/vanderbiltu, on Instagram: http://instagram.com/vanderbiltu and on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/vanderbilt. See all Vanderbilt social media at http://social.vanderbilt.edu.
25 minutes | Oct 30, 2017
The Zeppos Report #13 with Jim Stavridis
Former NATO Commander talks about global leadership on 'The Zeppos Report' Before taking the stage at Ingram Hall for the Chancellor’s Lecture Series on Tuesday, Oct. 3, retired U.S. Navy Adm. James Stavridis shared about his journeys on the seas and beyond on the latest episode of The Zeppos Report. Stavridis, who now serves as dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, conversed with Vanderbilt Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos about the key moments in his schooling at the Naval Academy that guided him to a lifelong career at sea. “I wish for everyone that they had a moment like that where they suddenly knew what they wanted to do and they could follow that path, that true north,” Stavridis said. Stavridis retired from his post as the 16th Supreme Allied Commander at NATO in 2013. He is a thought leader on 21st century geopolitics and wrote extensively about it in his newest book, Sea Power: The History and Geopolitics of the World’s Oceans. In the podcast, Stavridis and Zeppos navigate their conversation through several global security topics, including cyber threats and environmental changes in the seaways. They end by discussing America’s leading role in education across the globe. “What America does really well is university education and research,” Zeppos said. “And we live in a time where I do have to stand up for this role.” Stavridis resonated with this observation, noting that a flourishing higher education system that educates students from across the globe is crucial to America’s role in the world. “Every day I wake up thinking about how we can connect better into this global ecosystem,” Stavridis said. For a transcript of this podcast, please go to this URL: https://s3.amazonaws.com/vu-wp0/wp-content/uploads/sites/79/2017/10/24191118/The_Zeppos_Report_13_Jim_Stavridis.docx The podcast is available on SoundCloud, Stitcher, Google Play, iTunes, YouTube and The Zeppos Report website.
49 minutes | Oct 9, 2017
The Zeppos Report #12 with Suzana Herculano-Houzel
Neuroscientist Suzana Herculano-Houzel grew up in Rio De Janeiro with two academics as parents. She says that “informed criticism” was highly encouraged in her household, but her father—an economist—still sometimes wonders how he produced such a “rebel” scientist. In the latest episode of The Zeppos Report, Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos delves deep into the field of neuroanatomy with Herculano-Houzel, associate professor of psychology and biological sciences. The two explore the shattered dogmas and new findings about the brain that have emerged from Herculano-Houzel’s research featured in her critically-acclaimed book, The Human Advantage. The book seeks to answer a simple, yet central question of neuroscience: how do human brains compare to all other brains? “Everybody thought that everybody else had already figured that out!” Herculano-Houzel exclaims. As it turns out, Herculano-Houzel and her research team used a method she fondly refers to as “brain soup” to produce some of the most reputable findings about the human brain to date. She stresses, however, that these discoveries contradict the notion that our brains are “special.” Instead, Herculano-Houzel, who also serves as associate director for communications at the Vanderbilt Brain Institute, carefully describes our most powerful organ as “remarkable” and she attributes this to one key development. “What made modern humans possible is whatever trick our ancestors used that allowed them to get more calories in less time—and cooking does just that,” Herculano-Houzel said. In the podcast, Zeppos and Herculano-Houzel also stress the importance of universities across the globe and their role in retaining and creating knowledge. “We must invest in basic research and bring, from around the world, the most talented people,” said Zeppos, “And we are fortunate that we, as a country, have made those investments.” Brains aside, Herculano-Houzel still ponders about what produces a great mind and she’s found that higher education is a key ingredient in that process. The podcast is available on SoundCloud, Stitcher, Google Play, iTunes, YouTube and The Zeppos Report website.
49 minutes | Sep 28, 2017
The Zeppos Report #11 with Sally Yates
After joining Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos for a discussion on “The Presidency and the Rule of Law” Tuesday night, former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates joined Zeppos for an episode of The Zeppos Report. In the podcast, the two lawyers discuss the role of the Department of Justice at length, touching on topics such as the Trump administration’s controversial travel ban, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and the Russia investigation. Yates, released from her role in the Trump administration after 10 days, shares the following advice: “Batten down the hatches, keep looking straight ahead, and do your job,” she said. As the conversation progresses, Yates and Zeppos return to the themes of free speech and civil discourse, which serve as the bedrocks for both Vanderbilt University and the Department of Justice. “We are big believers in free speech,” Zeppos said. “Yet, I think for a university, it’s not just the vocal protest but its civil discourse and engagement.” Yates agrees, noting that the face-to-face interactions and deep discussions that often occur in university settings or through community-based programs are essential for the continued health of the country’s democratic institutions. While unsure about her next step, Yates concludes the interview by expressing her continued reverence for the vocation of public service. She remains tightly tethered to the tenets of the Department of Justice. “The only agency that’s named for a virtue,” Yates said. For a transcript of this podcast, please go to this URL: https://s3.amazonaws.com/vu-wp0/wp-content/uploads/sites/79/2017/09/28183714/Transcript_ZepposReport_SallyYates_2017.docx The podcast is available on SoundCloud, Stitcher, Google Play, iTunes, YouTube and The Zeppos Report website.
44 minutes | Sep 7, 2017
The Zeppos Report #10 with Megan Barry
A pair of Nashville’s most influential civic leaders engage in a conversation about the dynamic city and its innovative citizenry in the 10th episode of The Zeppos Report. Nashville mayor and Vanderbilt alumna Megan Barry sat down with Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos to discuss Nashville and Vanderbilt’s shared values—and the consistent, prominent role equity, diversity and inclusion hold among them. “We’re a diverse city, and you see that in the student body you have here at Vanderbilt and you see it reflected across our great city,” Barry said. “Diversity just gets you on the team; inclusion actually gets you in the starting lineup.” In the podcast, Zeppos and Barry discuss the recent stand she took against what she calls the “so-called Nashville Statement.” Zeppos applauds her stand in support of the LGBT community and her continued efforts to create and maintain an inclusive, welcoming community. “You are the mayor of this city that’s doing remarkably well because of those values,” Zeppos said. “I certainly stand by that as well.” Both leaders also express their commitment to increasing access to experiences that develop life skills and encourage creative thought. A new city initiative, Opportunity NOW, created more than 11,800 paid jobs and internships for Nashville’s youth this past summer, while Vanderbilt continues its commitment to meet 100 percent of demonstrated financial need for any student offered admission through Opportunity Vanderbilt. “Places like Vanderbilt and Nashville will continue to be those beacons to welcome people,” Barry said. Nashville’s creativity and Vanderbilt’s central role within it emerges as a consistent refrain throughout the interview. Barry describes Nashville as a “makerspace” and highlights Vanderbilt as a globally focused university existing in the city’s urban core. Specifically, Barry expresses gratitude about Vanderbilt’s position of leadership in efforts to increase public transportation across the city and metropolitan area. Zeppos notes that Vanderbilt and Nashville’s relationship is symbiotic. “We happen to be a great, private research university, but we grow out of the soil,” Zeppos said. For a transcript of this podcast, please go to this URL: https://s3.amazonaws.com/vu-wp0/wp-content/uploads/sites/79/2017/10/24191102/The_Zeppos_Report_10_Mayor_Megan_Barry.docx The podcast is available on SoundCloud, Stitcher, Google Play, iTunes, YouTube and The Zeppos Report website.
45 minutes | Aug 16, 2017
The Zeppos Report #9 with Keivan Stassun
For astrophysicists, star gazing is far from a whimsical pastime. In the latest episode of The Zeppos Report, Keivan Stassun, Stevenson Professor of Physics and professor of astronomy, describes his field as one that requires a mix of extraordinary patience and uninhibited curiosity. “When I’m doing astronomy, I’m having a great time, but it’s not particularly spiritual. In fact, some of it is quite dull. But, there are those moments … those punctuated, indescribable moments,” Stassun says in an interview with Vanderbilt University Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos. In the podcast, Zeppos asks Stassun about one of those defined moments: the total solar eclipse passing through Nashville on Aug. 21. As a stellar astrophysicist, Stassun has traversed the globe to observe the contents of the sky, but this will be his first in-person viewing of a total solar eclipse. He’ll be downtown at a private party taking in a glimpse of history. “At the moment of totality, it becomes a singularly human experience,” Stassun says. Stassun often crafts spaces where people from various backgrounds find connection through shared experiences. For more than a decade, he co-directed the Fisk-Vanderbilt Master’s-to-Ph.D. Bridge Program. He is now the senior associate dean for graduate education and research in the College of Arts and Science. As of this spring, the Bridge program has produced 27 Ph.D. graduates in STEM-related fields. One of his students in the program, Joey Rodriquez, recently made a record-setting discovery of the longest-lasting stellar eclipse currently known. Stassun reflects upon the salient time in college when he found his interest in astronomy transforming to experience. He wants to provide that same opportunity to the students he now teaches, guiding them as they progress from “being good at science” to becoming actively engaged in the scientific process. Zeppos described Stassun's sentiment as the crux of the Vanderbilt academic experience. “You’re going to discover new knowledge with me," Zeppos said. "You’re going to be a doer of it, not a watcher of it.” When considering the upcoming total solar eclipse, Stassun points out that being a “watcher” is certainly appropriate. “I will be there with my fellow hipsters, gazing skyward,” he says. For a transcript of this podcast, please go to this URL: https://s3.amazonaws.com/vu-wp0/wp-content/uploads/sites/79/2017/10/24191045/The_Zeppos_Report_9_Keivan_Stassun.docx This podcast is available on SoundCloud, Stitcher, Google Play, iTunes, YouTube and The Zeppos Report website.
48 minutes | Aug 7, 2017
The Zeppos Report #8 with Holly Tucker
Holly Tucker, professor of French and professor of medicine, health and society, is familiar with that “overwhelmed” feeling at the library. For her, though, it happens at specialty collections in Paris while surrounded by tomes of 17th century French manuscripts. In the latest edition of The Zeppos Report, Vanderbilt University Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos interviews Tucker about the complex infrastructure of her scholarship. “It’s a muddy mess, isn’t it?” Tucker cheerfully exclaimed. Tucker’s latest full-length work, City of Light, City of Poison: Murder, Magic, and the First Police Chief of Paris, was released earlier this year to critical acclaim. It ventures deeply into the records of police chief Nicolas de la Reynie as he works to clean up the streets of Paris and protect the legacy of King Louis XIV—the Sun King. In her conversation with Zeppos, Tucker punctuates the importance of bringing these historical documents to general audiences. “These are the types of stories about history that could draw readers from outside of our small group of scholars,” she said. Tucker, the 2012 recipient of the Chancellor’s Award for Research, also reflects upon the directions that her intellectual curiosity has taken her. She embraces the trans-institutional culture of learning at Vanderbilt and consistently seeks out opportunities to collaborate with various academic communities across the university. One such journey brought her back into the classroom as a student in the Master’s of Public Health program. “There are a lot of people who are a lot smarter than I am that have a lot of things to teach me,” she said. “I’m as much of a student as I am a teacher.” Tucker sat down with the chancellor in his office shortly after returning from her summer research location in the south of France. The interview took place on July 25, 2017. For a transcript of this podcast, please go to this URL: https://s3.amazonaws.com/vu-wp0/wp-content/uploads/sites/79/2017/10/24185243/Holly_Tucker_2017_07_28.docx The podcast is available on SoundCloud, Stitcher, Google Play, iTunes, YouTube and The Zeppos Report website.
42 minutes | May 31, 2017
The Zeppos Report #7 with Ken Burns
Legendary filmmaker Ken Burns talks about his enduring sense of discovery on ‘The Zeppos Report’ Just after graduating from college, Ken Burns found himself sick in bed with pneumonia. To help him pass the time, his best friend brought Burns a paperback copy of David McCullough’s classic book on the building of the Brooklyn Bridge. Burns read the book “in one gulp,” then came into the living room in pajamas and bathrobe, saying: “This is it! This is our film!” “And they all looked at me like I was crazy,” Burns told Vanderbilt University Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos in an interview for the latest edition of his podcast, The Zeppos Report. What many people would have dismissed as feverish utterings instead turned Burns onto his successful career path as a documentary filmmaker. The Brooklyn Bridge became Burns’ first film, earning him an Academy Award nomination before he was 30. Burns and Zeppos shared a wide-ranging conversation during Commencement Week in May, following Senior Day festivities where Burns was awarded the Nichols–Chancellor’s Medal and then spoke to seniors and their families about heroes and leaders. Burns told Zeppos that he knew at 12 that he wanted to be a filmmaker, and then at 19, in his first year at Hampshire College, realized that he wanted to be a documentary filmmaker. “My teachers there always reminded me that there is as much drama in what is, and what was, as anything the human imagination dreams of,” he said. Burns’ filmmaking career reads like a version of American history vastly different from the dates-and-places version taught in social studies classes across the nation. “I try to create an emotional archeology of our history,” he said. “Not in the sense of sentimentality or nostalgia, but in the sense of making 1 and 1 equal 3, where the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.” Burns’ nine-part series The Civil War brought him into the American mainstream, and he’s stayed there ever since with features on jazz, baseball, Prohibition, World War II, the Roosevelts and more. To debut in September on PBS is his 10-part, 18-hour documentary film series on the Vietnam War. “With this film, I’ve tried to create a place where multiple truths exist,” he said. Burns and his team are hard at work editing his next film, which is on the history of country music. He says the project “fires on all cylinders” for him in terms of telling stories of "who we are as a people. Country music is for people who feel like their stories haven’t been told having their stories told,” he says, adding that Nashville is as much a character in the film as the country music stars. “It seems that all roads in the history of country music led to Nashville,” he said. Burns joined Zeppos on campus for the interview, which took place on May 11, 2017. For a transcript of this podcast, please go to this URL: https://s3.amazonaws.com/vu-wp0/wp-content/uploads/sites/79/2017/10/24185248/The_Zeppos_Report_7_with_Ken_Burns.docx The podcast is available on SoundCloud, Stitcher, Google Play, iTunes, YouTube and The Zeppos Report website.
30 minutes | May 15, 2017
The Zeppos Report #6 with Jeff Rothschild
When Facebook’s founding engineer and Vanderbilt alumnus, Jeff Rothschild, first visited the fledgling company in 2005 at the behest of a venture capital firm, he was wary of the social media space in general and didn’t expect to stay more than two weeks. But then “I got to meet Mark (Zuckerberg) and Dustin Moskovitz and the other early members of the team and really fell in love with the vision they had for Facebook,” Rothschild told Vanderbilt University Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos in an interview for his latest podcast, The Zeppos Report. Rothschild, who earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology in 1977 and a master’s in computer science in 1979, told Zeppos that the Facebook of today closely resembles the original vision of connecting families and friends that the team laid out when it first started. “All of the people who joined Facebook in the early days cared about the mission of the company,” said Rothschild, who served as vice president of Infrastructure Software at Facebook from 2005 until 2015. “Very few of them thought, ‘I’m joining a hot startup.’” In addition to sharing his perspective on what made Facebook successful where other competitors failed, Rothschild talks to Zeppos about the benefits of “collateral knowledge,” as well as data analytics and automation coming together to usher in a new era of augmented intelligence. Before Facebook, Rothschild co-founded Veritas Software. He continues to serve as a consulting partner at the venture capital firm Accel Partners. As of July 1, 2017, he will begin a term as vice chairman of the Vanderbilt Board of Trust. In December 2016, Rothschild and his wife, Marieke, made a $20 million gift through a donor-advised fund to support the development of Vanderbilt’s residential colleges program, College Halls. Rothschild joined Zeppos on campus for the interview, which took place on April 21, 2017. The podcast is available on SoundCloud, Stitcher, Google Play, iTunes, YouTube and The Zeppos Report website. For a transcript of this podcast, please go to this URL: https://s3.amazonaws.com/vu-wp0/wp-content/uploads/sites/79/2017/10/24185247/The_Zeppos_Report_6_with_Jeff_Rothschild.docx The podcast is available on SoundCloud, Stitcher, Google Play, iTunes, YouTube and The Zeppos Report website. Media Inquiries: Melanie Moran, (615) 322-NEWS firstname.lastname@example.org
26 minutes | Apr 26, 2017
The Zeppos Report #5 with Janette Sadik - Khan
Janette Sadik-Khan discusses ‘Street Fight’ on ‘The Zeppos Report’ Vanderbilt University Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos interviews Janette Sadik-Khan, one of the world’s leading voices on urban transportation policy, on his podcast, The Zeppos Report. Zeppos and Sadik-Khan discuss the evolution of her career, the keys to her work in transforming New York City streets, and her vision for taking these lessons to the streets of Nashville and cities around the world. Sadik-Khan served as commissioner of the New York City Department of Transportation from 2007 to 2013. As commissioner, she led the transformation of New York City streets in the five boroughs, including pedestrian zones in Times Square, high-performance buses and a 6,000-cycle-strong bike share. Sadik-Khan currently serves as a principal at Bloomberg Associates, a philanthropic consultancy established by former Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg that advises mayors around the world to improve the quality of life for their residents. She is the co-author with Seth Solomonow, of the 2016 book Streetfight: Handbook for an Urban Revolution. Sadik-Khan joined Zeppos during an April 6 visit to Nashville where she was the keynote speaker at the Nashville Civic Design Center’s inaugural Living the Plan breakfast. For a transcript of this podcast, please go to this URL: https://s3.amazonaws.com/vu-wp0/wp-content/uploads/sites/79/2017/10/24185245/The_Zeppos_Report_5_Janette_Sakik_Kahn.docx The podcast is available on SoundCloud, Stitcher, Google Play, iTunes, YouTube and The Zeppos Report website.
26 minutes | Apr 12, 2017
The Zeppos Report #4 with Jerry Wilmink
Vanderbilt University Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos interviews Jerry Wilmink, founder and CEO of WiseWear Corporation, on the fourth episode of The Zeppos Report podcast. A Vanderbilt biomedical engineering alumnus (bachelor’s, master’s and Ph.D.) and self-described “mad scientist,” Wilmink also has experience as an inventor, startup business consultant for venture capital firms and program manager for the Department of Defense’s $2 billion Small Business Innovation Research program. The chancellor sat down with Wilmink while the engineer-turned-entrepreneur was on campus to deliver the School of Engineering’s Chambers Family Entrepreneurship Lecture. In the podcast, Wilmink discusses with the chancellor his journey from engineer to entrepreneur, the deeply personal reason he launched his company and the successes and pitfalls he encountered along the way. He also explains the marriage of technology and fashion behind WiseWear’s flagship line of “smart” luxury jewelry that comes with distress messaging, mobile notifications and detailed health and wellness activity tracking. The Zeppos Report features Vanderbilt faculty, students, staff and alumni as well as other engaging individuals on topics that range from politics to pop culture. New episodes of The Zeppos Report will be posted regularly during the academic year. The podcast is available on SoundCloud, YouTube, Google Play, iTunes and The Zeppos Report website. For a transcript of this podcast, please go to this URL: https://s3.amazonaws.com/vu-wp0/wp-content/uploads/sites/79/2017/10/24185253/Zeppos_Report_4_Jerry_Wilmink_2017_04_04.docx The podcast is available on SoundCloud, Stitcher, Google Play, iTunes, YouTube and The Zeppos Report website.
42 minutes | Mar 16, 2017
The Zeppos Report #3 with Barry Friedman
-- Vanderbilt University Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos interviews Barry Friedman, a noted constitutional law scholar and director of a project to strengthen policing through democratic governance, on the third episode of The Zeppos Report podcast. Friedman, the Jacob D. Fuchsberg Professor of Laws at New York University, is the author of a new book, Unwarranted: Policing without Permission (February 2017). Friedman, who previously taught at Vanderbilt Law School, serves as founding director of the Policing Project at NYU Law School. The center is devoted to helping bring principles of democratic governance and data-driven best practices to policing. Friedman discusses with the chancellor why he believes 'democratic policing' is important to efforts to improve policing in the United States and to make our communities safer. The interview was conducted while Friedman was in Nashville for a book talk at Parnassus Books in Green Hills, where the chancellor introduced his former law school colleague. Friedman received his J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center, where he graduated magna cum laude, after earning his bachelor's degree at the University of Chicago. He clerked for the Honorable Phyllis A. Kravitch of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit. He has been active in social changes issues, receiving the Clarence Darrow Award from the ACLU of Tennessee for his work in defense of civil liberties. For a transcript of this podcast, please go to this URL: https://s3.amazonaws.com/vu-wp0/wp-content/uploads/sites/79/2017/10/24185251/Zeppos_Report_3_Barry_Friedman_2017_03_16.docx The podcast is available on SoundCloud, Stitcher, Google Play, iTunes, YouTube and The Zeppos Report website.
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