Forensic anthropologist, inspiration for TV show ‘Bones’ to visit campus Oct. 23

Dr. Kathy Reichs
Dr. Kathy Reichs

Before her real-life experiences captivated audiences in Fox’s hit television show “Bones,” Kathy Reichs shared her knowledge of anthropology as a visiting professor at NIU in 1974.

An esteemed anthropologist and a distinguished author, Reichs will return to campus at 4 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 23, as a guest speaker during the 50th anniversary celebration of the NIU Anthropology Museum. The event will begin with her talk “Bones, Bugs and Bodies: Inside Today’s CSI” in the Carl Sandburg Auditorium at the Holmes Student Center. A book signing sponsored by Barnes & Noble will follow.

The event is free and open to the public.

Reichs also will serve as the keynote speaker later in the evening during the Anthropology Museum’s gala at Altgeld Hall beginning at 7 p.m. Tickets for the event are available online.

“It’s wonderful to have Dr. Reichs, a respected author and anthropologist, back at NIU to help us celebrate our anthropology museum,” NIU Provost Lisa Freeman said. “The museum and its collections speak to folks of all ages and interests, just as Dr. Reichs’ books do.”

One of only 82 forensic anthropologists ever certified by the American Board of Forensic Anthropology, Reichs is a highly regarded forensic anthropologist and professor of anthropology at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte. She brings her dramatic work experience to life through the fictional character Temperance Brennan, featured in her award-winning books and in “Bones.”

From teaching FBI agents how to detect and recover human remains, to separating and identifying commingled body parts in her Montreal lab, Reichs has devoted her career to the application of anthropology to help solve some of humanity’s most violent crimes.

She has traveled to Rwanda to testify at the U.N. Tribunal on Genocide and helped exhume a mass grave in Guatemala. She has aided in the identification of war dead from WWII, Korea and SE Asia. Reichs also assisted with identifying remains found at ground zero of the World Trade Center following the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Kathy ReichsIn 2013, she received recognition from the American Anthropological Association for significant contributions to raising public awareness of anthropology.

Jennifer Kirker Priest, director of the Anthropology Museum, said the 50th anniversary celebration needed a speaker who generates excitement about anthropology.

“There really isn’t anyone better than Dr. Kathy Reichs,” Kirker Priest said. “The museum is a dynamic place where special ideas and topics are brought to life, and Dr. Reichs does the same in her books and television show; she brings anthropology to life for millions of people around the world.

“We are honored to have such a distinguished and highly regarded anthropologist lead our 50th anniversary celebrations.”

The event is sponsored by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; the Division of Academic Affairs; the Division of Research and Innovation Partnerships; Smerge Family Foundation Endowed Dean’s Fund for Liberal Arts and Sciences; Cordogan, Clark & Associates; Friends of the University Libraries; Steve and Michele Glasgow; the Presidential Commission on the Status of Women; Carmen and John Cordogan; Proto Productions; HyVee; Maria O. and Fred H. Smith; Kendall Thu and Kathy Reuter; and the Center for Latino and Latin American Studies.

For more information, call (815) 753-2520 or email anthromuseum@niu.edu.

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