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Symposium History


Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 event was canceled. To support our students after the cancellation, we created a virtual presentation opportunity on social media. Over 60 student projects were featured on the Symposium Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. Our 2020 scholars were eligible for scholarships, honors credit, and Learning Beyond the Classroom credit. We were pleased to be able to honor all of our presenters' hard work by offering these important opportunities.


High school students from several area communities attended the Symposium. The Offices of Admissions and Communications assisted with this project to inspire future college students to choose EMU because of its academic excellence and the opportunity to conduct research as an undergraduate.


USA Today reporter Nathan Bomey (Symposium & EMU '06) served as the 2017 keynote speaker. He told the student presenters attending the celebratory luncheon that, "Like me, all of you are devoted to basic research. Learning, exploring, dare I say, reporting...."


A smart device application, Guidebook, provided the Symposium program electronically to visitors and presenters. The 34th event was adjusted to an all-day format to accommodate a record-high participation of 500 students. 


Challenge advancement goal reached: $1-million in support of the Symposium and especially student scholarship and research awards. Special to this year was the addition of the Design Expo as an exhibit component for student research.


The Symposium reaches the historic mark of 30 events! Over the past three decades, more than 4,000 students have had the opportunity to share their research in front of their peers, professors University administration, community, and family. We have grown from 17 presenters in the first Symposium to over 300 in 2009!


The nominations process was changed to allow only online submissions, thereby streamlining the approval process and making both web and print publication easier.


The annual event moved to the new EMU Student Center. Genesis, a bronze sculpture by artist and Symposium XXVII keynote speaker Brent Collins, was dedicated and placed on permanent display at the center.


The Symposium proudly celebrated its 25th event. In honor of the event's longevity, a new scholarship series was announced and the event also provided the opportunity for 25 select Symposium and University alumni to return to campus for the festivities.


Webcasting of select presentations began with Symposium XXII. 


The Barry A. Fish Scholarship and the Ronald W Collins Memorial Endowed Scholarship for Undergraduate Symposium Participants endowed to provide financial awards for continued undergraduate studies.


Office of Financial Aid and the Graduate School began providing up to 20 University Fellowship Awards for Symposium Participants to graduating participants to encourage them to continue their graduate studies at EMU. Dedicated website launched.


Student designers involved in design process.


Student emcees added to the luncheon program.


The College of Business and the College of Health and Human Services nominated students for participation. 


Participation expanded with students from the College of Education and the College of Technology included.


Posters displays added.


Luncheon and keynote speaker added to event.


Envisioned by former Provost Ronald W. Collins, and under the leadership of Ira M. Wheatley of History and Philosophy, the first annual event was held April 3, 1981. Seventeen students and 19 faculty members from nine College of Arts and Sciences departments were featured.