Annual Call for Patten Nominations

The Patten Foundation provides generous funds to bring to the Bloomington campus people of extraordinary national and international distinction. It is the purpose of the Patten Foundation to attract men and women whose contribution to the sciences, the humanities, the arts, or to the understanding of human affairs is outstanding. Representing every field of human knowledge and endeavor, past Patten Lecturers have included Oscar Arias, Jorge Luis Borges, Noam Chomsky, Natalie Zemon Davis, Umberto Eco, John Hope Franklin, Fred Hoyle, Julian S. Huxley, Evelyn Fox Keller, Sir Edmund Leach, Geoffrey Marcy, Marvin Minsky, Toni Morrison, Amos Oz, Edwin Reischauer, Helmuth Rilling, Edward Said, Amartya Sen, Wole Soyinka, Ren Thom, Lester Thurow, and Edward O. Wilson.

The Patten Committee invites nominations for the academic year 2020-21 and would like to be kept informed of prospects and developments that might lead to nominations in future years.

 Nominations should include:
  1. A letter of nomination, indicating the nominee's eminence and potential significance to the university as well as his/her availability, suggesting possible lecture topics, and documenting the nominee's ability to speak effectively to an audience that is not limited to specialists.
  2. A preliminary plan of activities so the committee can judge how the lecturer's time will be used. This plan should include activities in various departments and ways in which visitors will interact with faculty as well as with both graduate and undergraduate students.
  3. Verification that the nominee is willing to visit during the academic year and to stay in Bloomington for a full work week.
  4. A short vita enumerating the nominee's principal scholarly and professional attainments, perhaps from Who's Who in America, The Directory of American Scholars, or a similar source.
  5. Supporting memoranda from persons in several other departments, programs, or schools, briefly explaining their interest in the nomination and indicating how their faculty and students would benefit specifically from the nominee's presence on campus. These materials should also provide evidence that the nominee is a good public speaker. Nominations typically include 8-10 letters of support, the majority of which often come from departments other than the lead nominator's.

The nomination (excluding supporting letters) must not exceed 15 pages.

The Patten Committee encourages nominations which promote the international and cultural diversity of intellectual life on campus. The Committee is also especially interested in nominations of qualified women and minorities.

For consideration for the 2020-21 academic year, nominations and supporting materials should be submitted by NOVEMBER 13, 2019 to Indermohan Virk, Executive Director, the Patten Foundation, Bryan Hall 111 (email: ivirk [at] indiana [dot] edu; phone: 855-5788). The Patten Committee Chair, Lynda Delph (email:, will be happy to answer questions about the program and the nomination process as well.