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Faculty Panel Debates 'Creativity, on the Edge of Mental Illness?'

September 17, 2004

[ Faculty Panel - SNC LOGO ] DELAWARE, OHIO -- A faculty panel will debate "Creativity, on the Edge of Mental Illness?" as part of the Sagan National Colloquium public affairs series at Ohio Wesleyan University on Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2004 at 7:30 p.m. in OWU's Hamilton-Williams Campus Center Benes Room. The topic of the panel, consisting of Dr. Edward "Jed" Burtt, Dr. Martin Hipsky, Dr. Richard Leavy, and Robert Olmstead, and moderated by Dr. Jan Smith, relates to this year's Colloquium theme on "Dimensions of Creativity." Robert Lowell, hospitalized for severe depression, wrote some of the 20th century's most memorable poetry. John Nash, a brilliantly creative mathematician, was a delusional schizophrenic. Are these just the expected few cases of mental illness among creative individuals or are creative persons at greater risk of mental illness than the rest of the population?

A Zoology Professor, Dr. Edward Burtt chairs the National Audubon-Ohio Committee on Important Bird Areas and is a trustee of the Central Ohio Symphony Orchestra. His research interests include function and evolution of avian coloration. Dr. Martin Hipsky, an English Professor, specializes in Anglo-American modernism and twentieth-century British literature. His professional experience extends to writing in science and public policy as well as literary criticism.

Dr. Robert Leavy, Psychology Professor, maintains a private clinical practice and serves as a consultant to numerous community health agencies. His research interests include the role of social support as a means of coping with stress and the early identification of alcohol problems. Robert Olmstead, an established writer of fiction including four novels and several short stories, is Director of OWU's Creative Writing Program. He also has published a textbook for fiction-writing workshops and a non-fiction memoir, "Stay Here With Me." A Sociology Professor, Dr. Jan Smith's research interests include contemporary social theory, the history of sociological thought, economic institutions, and social change. Dr. Smith's current research identifies the basic attributes of human nature and social interaction.

The Sagan National Colloquium is in its 19th year at Ohio Wesleyan. All lectures are free of charge and open to the public. More information is available at snc.owu.edu or 740-368-3995.