Forum ’76 Draws Black-Tie Celebs
“I took note in your article ‘Twentieth-Century Celebrities Come to Campus’ that your reference was Irene Macauley’s book The Heritage of Illinois Institute of Technology, published in 1975.
“You may be interested to know that in 1976, I and a small group of alums created Forum ’76, a black-tie dinner held at Bob Pritzker’s downtown Chicago Hyatt Hotel. In honor of the United States bicentennial and with the help of Maynard P. “Pete” Venema, the chairman of [the Illinois Institute of Technology] Board of Trustees and his friend Don Rumsfeld, the U.S. Secretary of Defense, we invited President Gerald Ford to give a major policy speech on technology. (It was the pre-internet days, when we thought you could get to anyone with three phone calls. My call to Venema and his to Rumsfeld somewhat confirmed that simple networking adage of the day.)
“For the occasion, my committee and I designed and created the Henry Heald Award, which I understand to this day remains the university’s highest award.
“Unfortunately, in May 1976, President Ford was busy preparing for his upcoming election. He accommodated our event by sending an official from NASA to be our featured speaker.
“In 1977 I once again chaired the Forum Dinner, at which we presented the first Heald Award to R. Buckminster Fuller, the inventor of the geodesic dome. Our principal speaker that evening was Jonas Salk, creator of the Salk polio vaccine. My fellow alums who were instrumental in cultivating my Forum Dinner idea were Fred Roberton (DSGN ’51), Bruno Conterato (ARCH ’48), Hal Bergen (EE ’50), and Joe Fern (FPE ’43).”
Looking at Machine-Learning Internet Tests
After reading “Breaking the Cycle” in the fall 2020 issue of Illinois Tech Magazine, Robert John Zagar (M.S. PSYC ’75), a Chicago-based psychologist, shared his views and referred to a paper he co-authored titled “Implications of Machine-Learning Internet Tests to Save Lives and Money: 7-Point Violence Profile” published in the Review of European Studies (Vol. 11, No. 1, 2019). The authors conclude that “there is hope for a safer world and a peaceful next generation, because with probability models, namely actuarial assessments, there is the potential for violence prediction or forecasting because one collects the full information in a MLIT [machine-learning internet test].”
In his letter to Illinois Tech Magazine, Zagar adds that “147,023+ high-risk youth got a job mentor and anger management in a program started under Mayor [Richard M.] Daley [Culture of Calm] and continued by Mayor [Rahm] Emanuel [One Summer Chicago], saving 620 lives.
“Your article does not highlight how the Second Chance Act actually gives many former offenders an opportunity to start a new life,” says Zagar. “I don’t think releasing violent offenders is the answer as so many have advocated. Given machine-learning internet tests we can determine who can be released and who might just have to serve out their sentences.”