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San Francisco: Cultural Programs

The Prospectus Committee
In 1957, the Prospectus Committee (later the Academic Planning Committee) appointed a "Sub-Committee on Medical Ecology" which organized the first series of Noon Topics lectures, held in the cafeteria during the lunch hour on each Wednesday. This subcommittee was later deactivated.

Committee for Arts and Lectures
In 1960, Chancellor John B. de C. M. Saunders appointed a Committee for Arts and Lectures. Most of the committee activities were held in the Medical Sciences Building auditorium. In addition to regular lectures, the program was expanded to include showing of selected films and provision was made for the presentation of special lectures, exhibits, and concerts. The committee also arranged facilities for presentation of various Intercampus Cultural Exchange Programs.

Noon Topics Lectures
Noon Topics lectures were designed to promote an interest in human ecology and encompass the various aspects of the biological, sociological, and geographical environments which influence the physical and psychological well-being of man. By January, 1966, 165 Noon Topics lectures had been presented, including: Adrian Wenner on "The Language of the Bees" (1984); Mark Schorer on "The Modern Hero in Fiction" (1963); Donald McKinnon on "The Personality of the Creative Individual" (1962); and a discussion of "Man and Nature in Chinese Philosophy" (1960), given by Alan Watts.

Other Special Campus Presentations
Special lectures not within the Noon Topics series included Ashley Montagu on "New Light on the Nature of Man" (1963); a lecture on "Existentialism and Psychiatry" (1963) by Iago Galdston; and C. Northcote Parkinson on "Sickness at Sea in the 18th Century" (1960).

The committee also sponsored the presentation of the Techne Film program, presented at noon on alternate Fridays, which included a series of films on great artists, the plays of Shakespeare, and films on world travel.

Display cases in the lobby of the Medical Sciences Building were used to present information about current programs and to provide facilities for special exhibits, which included: "The World Health Organization's Campaign against Malaria," featuring commemorative postage stamps on the subject from all over the world; a special exhibit on the history of quarantine and disinfection; and a display of "Hidden Meanings in Child Art" (1965), used in connection with a Noon Topics lecture.


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Concerts and Musical Organizations

The Arts and Lectures Committee was also responsible for arranging for a series of concerts for the campus, which included programs by the Duo di Roma (1963), the Griller Quartet (1961-62), Ruggiero Ricci (1962), Phyllis Curtin (1962), the Paganini Quartet (1961), Presti and LaGoya (1964), John Creighton Murray (1964), and Julian Bream (1965).

The Medical Center Choral Society was formed in 1949 by R. Goden Agnew. Performances of the group were given at campus Charter Day ceremonies, graduation exercises, and during the Christmas holidays. Following completion of Millberry Union, concerts were given in the lounging rooms. In the spring of 1963, the activities of the society were temporarily suspended. During the spring semester of 1966, a new choral group was formed under the direction of O. D. Blackburn.

The University of California Medical Center Recreational Chamber Music Orchestra was organized under the direction of violinist Sydney Griller in 1964, with the sponsorship of the Arts and Lectures Committee. Following a reorganization, the group was later known as the San Francisco Medical Center Orchestra Society and was supported by private contribution. Its director was Robert Grant, cellist with the San Francisco Symphony.


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