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Symposium History


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.


Luncheon and keynote speaker added to event.


Posters displays added.


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


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


Student emcees added to the luncheon program.


Student designers involved in design process.


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.


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.


Webcasting of select presentations began with Symposium XXII.


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.


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


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!


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.


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.


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...."