Annual Harshman Lecture to Focus on Empathy

November 12, 2008 - News Release

The University of Guelph's annual Harshman Lecture is being held Nov. 19. Mary Gordon, a best-selling author, educator, child advocate and parenting expert, will discuss "The Roots of Empathy: The Attachment Relationship" at 7 p.m.

The lecture will be held in the Pinetree Room of the Ramada Inn & Conference Centre, 716 Gordon St. A reception will follow.

The event is free and open to the University community and general public. RSVP to Barbara Aldridge, 519-824-4120, Ext. 56321, or

Gordon has created award-winning classroom programs on the power of empathy. In 1996, she founded Roots of Empathy, which has been shown to reduce levels of aggression among school children by raising social/emotional competence and increasing empathy. Her Seeds of Empathy program, created in 2005, fosters social and emotional competence and early literacy skills and attitudes in children three to five years of age, and provides professional development for their educators.

Gordon is also the founder of Canada's first and largest school-based parenting and family literacy centres. She has received many awards for her contributions to innovation in education and is a consultant to governments, education organizations and public institutions.

Her 2005 book, Roots of Empathy: Changing the World Child by Child, was ranked one of the Top 100 Books of the Year by the Globe and Mail.

The lecture is sponsored by the Harshman Foundation. The lecture series was started in 1978 to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the founding of the Macdonald Institute, and pays tribute to Dr. Page Harshman, former chair of the Foundation until his death in 1977. Building on its historical link to the former College of Family and Consumer Studies, the Harshman Foundation is now enriching the programs of the College of Social and Applied Human Sciences through support of undergraduate and graduate scholarships.

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, 519-824-4120, Ext. 53338, or Deirdre Healey, 519-824-4120, Ext. 56982.

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