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Tenth Dies Academicus event held by the Università della Svizzera Italiana (University of Lugano)
Saturday 13th May 2006 from 10 a.m. to 12.15 p.m.
Great Hall (Aula Magna) on the University Campus in Lugano
Lugano (ots) - The Università della Svizzera Italiana is 10 years old! The Dies Academicus is an important opportunity to meet up and exchange information about the development of the USI within the context of our region and in its relations with both the Swiss university system and the international academic community. The tenth anniversary also offers an opportunity to take stock and to celebrate the success of the university system we are building here in Italian-speaking Switzerland.
The programme gets underway with an address made by the President of the Università, Marco Baggiolini, who will be concluding his ten-year term of office at the end of this present academic year. Baggiolini will be expanding upon the most significant stages in the growth of the USI, coming during one of the most eventful and creative periods in history of the Swiss university system, during which universities have had to face up to important challenges offering a new University wonderful opportunities to develop.
The Federal Councillor Pascal Couchepin, head of the Department of Home Affairs, an advocate and a close observer of university education and research, will be presenting his thoughts about our country's academic heritage and the opportunities for our future which lie before it.
Two honorary doctorates will then be awarded.
Stephen A. Ross, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology will be honoured by the Faculty of Economics "for his fundamental contribution to the theory of the valuation of financial activities and the decisions made by companies".
Leslie Lamport, a scientific researcher from Microsoft Research in California, will be honoured by the Faculty of Computer Science "for his pioneering contributions to the theoretical foundations of distributed computer systems". The programme closes with a greeting from Piero Martinoli, a professor of Physics at the University of Neuchâtel, who will be taking over the Presidency of the USI in September.
The Dies Academicus ceremony is open to the public.
The honorary doctorate is granted to people who have distinguished themselves through the excellence of their work in scientific and professional fields. The honorary doctorate is awarded by the University Board based upon a proposal made by a Faculty (article 38 of the USI Statutes). The proposals made by the Faculties of Economics and of Computer Science were ratified by the University Board at its meeting held on 24th February 2006.
So far the USI has awarded three honorary doctorates, to: John R. Searle, a language philosopher and professor at the University of California at Berkeley (May 2003), Robert F. Engle, a specialist in financial econometrics and professor at New York University (November 2003) and Giuseppe Panza di Biumo, a major, highly innovative collector of contemporary art who lives in Massagno (May 2005).
Interesting details: a few months after the decision to award the USI's honorary doctorate, Professor Engle received the Nobel Prize.
Stephen A. Ross is Professor of Finance and Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston as well as being director and CEO of Compensation Valuation, a leading company in the field of financial instruments. In the past he has taught economics and finance at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School and then at Yale University. He is the author of over one hundred scientific articles in the field of economics and finance and joint author of a well-known introduction to finance. After receiving a degree in physics, Ross was awarded a doctorate at Harvard University (1970). He invented the "Theory of Arbitrage Pricing" and the "Theory of Agency Costs" and he has contributed to the discovery of valuation methods based on risk neutrality and to the creation of binomial models for valuing derivatives. The models that he and his assistants have developed in the field of interest rates and options have now become standard methods used by the major banks. Ross has received numerous prizes and acknowledgements, including the "Graham and Dodd Award" for authors in the field of finance, the "Pomerance Prize" for his research into the valuation of options, the "University of Chicago's Leo Melamed Prize" for the best research carried out in a business school and, in 1996, the "Financial Engineer of the Year Award". He was chairman of the American Finance Association and is a member of both the econometrics society and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He has been an adviser to investment banks, to major companies and to US Government Departments, such as the Treasury and the Department of Trade. He has been chairman of the American Express Advisory Panel, director of the General Re and of the CREF and he is currently chairman of the board of IV Capital in London, a member of the boards of Freddie Mac and of the California Institute of Technology.
Leslie Lamport, a scientific researcher from Microsoft Research in California is one of the best-known computer researchers in the world. He received a doctorate in mathematics from Brandeis University in 1972 with a dissertation on singularities in analytic partial differential equations, a subject which led him on to a brilliant career as a researcher working for major research centres at Computer Associates in Massachusetts, Digital and Compaq. He has made a fundamental contribution to the development of the theoretical bases of distributed computer systems and with the TLA+ (the Temporal Logic of Actions) language he has developed a logic used to specify and reason on reactive and concurrent systems, which defines "an attempt to overcome engineers' antipathy towards mathematics".
Lamport has received numerous honours including honorary doctorates from the Federal Polytechnic in Lausanne and the Universities of Rennes and of Kiel. He won the "IEEE Piore Award" in 2004 for his contribution in the computer data sector, which is seen to be highly significant for the progress of science and for improving society. He is also famous as the author of LaTeX, a text formatting system which is widely used in research and professional publishing.
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