The College’s first academic symposium celebrated the 22-year presidency of James J. Whalen and
his strong support for undergraduate research, especially in the natural and social sciences. Held in
the spring of 1997, the President’s Academic Symposium showcased the work of students from both
the School of Humanities and Sciences and the School of Business, providing a forum much like that of a
H&S dean Howard S. Erlich observed at the time, “The symposium honors President
Whalen’s dedication to and support for student learning, both in the classroom and out. That so
many of Ithaca College’s students are engaged in significant collaborative work with the faculty
is a tribute not only to the college, but also to President Whalen’s distinguished
The success of the first symposium suggested its continuation. The second event, renamed the James J.
Whalen Academic Symposium and held in March 1998, featured the research and creative projects of
approximately 80 students from all five school of the College. Student interest in the all-day event
has continued to grow; the 2008 symposium involved over 250 students and 162 presentations. The
projects represent the best student work accomplished at the College and are evidence of the important
role that student-faculty collaboration plays in learning at Ithaca.