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The University of Minnesota Duluth
BRIDGE - Fall 2008, Volume 26, #1
Conference Series Founder Richard P. Teske
On Leading a Creative Life
The Sieur du Luth Lecture and Conference Series was initiated by alumnus Richard P. Teske, nationally known researcher, consultant, and writer on health care policy.
Teske ’71 (BA History) served for eight years in the Reagan administration and was responsible for the Medicaid program during a portion of that time. In addition, he has been a broadcaster, political consultant, architect, international corporate executive and speechwriter. Currently, Teske is a regular contributor to the Heritage Foundation.
To directly impact the education of students was Teske’s goal in establishing the series. Two events, a conference and a film, were his inspiration. While Teske was a UMD student, he attended the Gustavus Adolphus Nobel Conference.
“I met Norman Borlaug, who had just received the Nobel Prize,” Teske said. “It was an incredible moment for me.” Borlaug, “the father of the Green Revolution” is an American agricultural scientist and humanitarian who developed ways to increase agricultural production.
The following year, as freshmen orientation director, Teske showed new studentsthe film, Why Man Creates. “It is an astonishing, imagination-filled film about the human desire to be creative in a whole variety of fields,” Teske said. To Teske, the film and the encounter with one of the greatest minds of the century symbolized mixing knowledge with imagination and creativity. He wanted to pass that special energy on to UMD students.
“I want to bring a series of speakers to UMD to talk about leading a creative life,” Teske said. Chancellor Kathryn A. Martin along with UMD staff Diane Skomars, Greg Fox and Wy Spano worked with Teske. “They helped me mold the idea into a lecture and conference series,” he said. “We named it after Sieur du Luth because of the student award, which several of us received. It’s also a great name because Sieur du Luth was an explorer and the series is about discovery.”
For three decades, Teske has been applying his own creative mind to the health care policy debate in Washington. He recently presented a lecture to the UMD Masters of Advocacy and Political Leadership program entitled, “Can We Afford the Health Care of the Future, Let Alone the Present?”
The first event in the Sieur du Luth Lecture and Conference Series was Michael Berman’s talk on campaign civility (see the Berman story on page 12). Judging from the strong positive response and Teske’s commitment to UMD, the series is sure to ignite student ingenuity and enterprise into the future.
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