Bringing into the educational arena a voice from industry.
That, says Russ Jamison, director of the Technology
& Management (T&M) Program, is the goal of the Alan
M. Hallene Lecture and Visiting Executive/Scholar Series launched
in 2003. Karen Katen, executive vice president, Pfizer
Inc, and president, Pfizer
Global Pharmaceuticals, was the Hallene Lecturer this spring.
She spoke with T&M students as well as alumni and friends of
the University at the lecture held at the Illini Center in Chicago
Katen's lecture, entitled "Difference Engine," focused
on how the rise of technology helps save lives, and how blending
science and technology is not a contentious idea. Technology, she
observed, is created by those who are willing to take risks. In
the case of Pfizer, she pointed out that not all of Pfizer's research
and development leads to miracle drugs for the majority of the population.
Indeed, many of the company's breakthrough drugs benefit smaller
groups of people with less common illnesses.
Katen met with T&M students for a Q&A session prior to
the lecture, fielding questions about Pfizer's corporate philosophy,
what students should look for when they begin their job searches,
and her education and career. As a business student, she said, she
was not intimidated by science but found it exciting and stimulating,
something she likely shares with many of the T&M students. When
asked what someone should do if he feels he made the wrong career
choice or joined the wrong company, Katen suggested that, "if
you're not comfortable with the people and basic philosophy of the
Stanley Ikenberry, president emeritus of the University of Illinois,
sat in on the question and answer session and called it a "very
interesting exchange." Ikenberry, who introduced Katen later
in the evening, said that "Karen Katen immediately came to
mind" when he was asked about who he would like to see be invited
as the Hallene lecturer in the spring.
Student reaction to the Hallene lecture and to the Q&A session
was positive. Rishi Roongta, a T&M sophomore, said the talk
was "very different from [what we learn] in class." When
asked what interested her the most about the lecture, Renee Holley,
a junior, said, "I liked how she communicated the philanthropic
aspect of her company."
A gift from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
in 2001 established the Alan M. Hallene Visiting Executive/Scholar
Series that brings traditional and non-traditional teachers, including
senior executives, with insights on management issues and industry
trends to campus to meet with T&M students and to deliver the