Speaker videos from recent Wings event now available online

Wings fall 2019 event

The Redd East, an old industrial building in Portland, was bedecked in green while the JazzArts Oregon student ensemble performed on the evening of Oct. 16. Guests were there to be inspired by the members of the University of Oregon community who spoke at Wings: UO Presidential Speaker Series.

Videos of those talks are now available online.

Josh Roering, UO geology professor and head of the Department of Earth Sciences, spoke about the revolutionary way scientists are able to study landscapes using lidar, mapping an area using lasers from an airplane. He called the technology a topographic time machine.

“Essentially, we see the imprint of geologic processes that have been shaping the landscape for long periods of time and that time machine allows us to look for it,” Roering said. “Our deep understanding of the past helps us look into the future and predict what it's like to live in such an active and dynamic place as Cascadia.”

Matt Thomas, a UO alum and founder of Townshend’s Tea Company and Brew Dr. Kombucha, told the entrepreneurial story of how an idea in class became a successful business, making and selling 20 million bottles of kombucha in 2018 alone.

“We've actually become one of the largest brewers in the state, which is pretty big, you know, in a beer state. And I’m proud of that,” Thomas said. “I’m so really excited about what's to come and hoping to continue to do something extraordinary.”

Michelle McKinley, a UO professor of law and director of the Center for the Study of Women in Society, spoke about her research as a historian of slavery.

“In order for us to understand slavery, we have to understand freedom and we have to think about fractional freedom,” McKinley said. “This is why I call what I do the accrual of fractional freedoms.”

Kelly Graves, UO women’s basketball coach since 2014, talked about what it’s like coaching the team, which has earned a record of 124 wins to 52 losses over the past five seasons. But despite heading into this season as the top-ranked team in the country, Graves said winning the national championship is not a team goal.   

“You know what our goal is? To have a great practice. To work hard and get better each and every day,” Graves said. “What I love about coaching, and what I know my players love, is that it's a journey. It's a process. We're growing together, we're having fun and we love being with each other.”

The speaker videos from past Wings events are also available online.

—By Emily Hoard, University Communications