Members of the University Honors Program had the opportunity to meet with and ask questions of Jaron Lanier, the father of virtual reality and the keynote speaker for NIU’s 2013 Celebrating Excellence event.
Lanier, named one of Time Magazine’s great minds, has spent his life devoted to researching and developing new methods of computing and conceptualizing network solutions.
His first book, “You Are Not A Gadget,” is an international bestseller and his follow-up work – “Who Owns the Future?” – is set to release to critical acclaim. Lanier is also an accomplished musician and artist with numerous published works and credits to his name.
The University Honors Program hosted the meeting, providing its students with exclusive one-on-one time with Lanier. Alecia Eschenbrenner, a sophomore biology education major and University Honors student, said the discussion was a great educational experience.
“It was really interesting getting to hear such a brilliant man share his ideas,” Eschenbrenner said. “I really enjoyed the opportunity to interact with such an influential person.”
Eschenbrenner was one of 87 students presented with a scholarship or tuition waiver from the University Honors Program at the event. Each of the recipients were met and congratulated by Christopher Jones, associate vice provost for University Honors.
“We wanted to celebrate the excellence of our University Honors students in a special way,” Jones said. “The entire University Honors administrative team saw this opportunity with Mr. Lanier as a superb way to showcase University Honors students and provide them with a memorable, one-of-a-kind experience.”
Each of the scholarship recipients were selected by a committee of University Honors staff and faculty. “We aim to offer as much support as we can to our students,” said Vanessa Segundo, assistant director of programming and communications for the Honors Program. “The University Honors Program is always looking to host special events and provide special opportunities for its students.”