On Friday, October 2, Homecoming at Chapman University started off right by offering panel discussions and master classes for visitors and students.

The College of Educational Studies’ very own Dean Margaret Grogan was invited to be the moderator for a panel discussion promoted by the Chapman Magazine “Off the Page” event entitled, “To Madam President and Beyond.”  4 inspirational women in the business of government were part of the discussion: U.S. Congress Member Loretta Sanchez ’82, Professor Lori Cox Han, City of Orange Mayor Tita Smith, and Disneyland Resort Director of Government Relations Carrie Nocella ’99.

These strong female leaders answered questions in regard to their definition of leadership along with stories of their own leadership experiences and struggles.  There was a call for mentorship for women who might be interested in working in government as the panelists gave tips on how to best get into the government world as a woman and the work that needs to be done.  All-in-all, it was an inspiring room to be a part in.

One hour earlier, Professor Alters told the standing-room audience of over 100 that Walt Disney primarily entails the world of fantasy and Charles Darwin the reality of nature. The title of Dr. Alter’s presentation was “Walt Disney and Charles Darwin: The Pursuit of Happiness and Knowledge.”  Together the Homecoming Master Class explored their creations and their beliefs, and delved into some profound ideas underpinning human origins and happiness.

The class explored Walt Disney’s life and creations in an attempt to discover and appreciate how those fanciful creations so successfully increase happiness for a larger segment of society than creations from any other individual.  They also delved into why the scientific and philosophy-of-science communities frequently assert that the top science prize of all time should be awarded to Charles Darwin for his discovery of the mechanism explaining the evolution of all life on the planet and “because his idea unites the two most disparate features of our universe: The world of purposeless, meaningless matter-in-motion, on the one side, and the world of meaning, and purpose, and design on the other.”

Dr. Alters wanted the class not only to study the accomplishments of these two giants in history, how they interrelate in often strange and counter-intuitive ways, and how their accomplishments are even greater today than during their lifetimes, but also what their ideas could mean to increasing the pursuit of knowledge and happiness for ourselves and others.