University of Pittsburgh
February 8, 2001


Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH, Feb. 9 -- John Gage, chief researcher and director of the Science Office at Sun Microsystems, will present the inaugural lecture of the Sara Fine Institute for Interpersonal Behavior & Technology at the University of Pittsburgh's School for Information Sciences (SIS).

Gage's presentation, "The Future of Technology and Humanity: It's Not What It Used to Be," will be offered from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., Thursday, March 1, in the Assembly Room of the William Pitt Union on the University of Pittsburgh campus.

SIS established The Sara Fine Institute for Interpersonal Behavior and Technology in 2000 to provide a forum for scholars and professionals to address issues relating to the human aspects of an increasingly technological society.

Named for Professor Emerita Sara Fine who taught at Pitt for 23 years (see accompanying biographical sketch), the Institute sponsors a lecture series intended to be annual. Distinguished speakers from information science, the natural or social sciences, or other fields related to the human-machine connection, will give the keynote speech, and participate in master classes for students. In the future, the Institute is expected to expand to include workshops, visiting scholars, and research projects.

Gage is responsible for Sun's relationships with world scientific and technical organizations, for international public policy and governmental relations in the areas of scientific and technical policy, and for alliances with the world's leading research institutions.

In 1995, Gage created NetDay, a volunteer project to bring the resources of world high-technology companies to all schools and libraries to connect them to the Internet. Since then, over 500,000 volunteers have wired 50,000 schools and libraries in the United States. NetDays are planned in over 35 countries for 2001. Gage is on the board of NetDay and Schools Online, a non-profit organization dedicated to connecting the world, one school at a time.

In late 1999, President Clinton appointed Gage to his Web Based Education Commission, which recently issued its report.

The Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy at the Kennedy School of Government named Gage as one of five distinguished journalists and scholars to its 2000 Fall Fellows. He is teaching a course on "Technology, Media, and Governance."

Gage also is a frequent host on Sun's "Digital Journey," an ongoing series of Web-based multimedia programs that seek to gain a more complete understanding of new and emerging technologies in their business, social, environmental, and cultural contexts.

Gage attended the University of California at Berkeley, the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and the Harvard Graduate School of Business. He did doctoral work in mathematics and economics at UC-Berkeley, leaving the school in 1982 to join Bill Joy at Sun Microsystems.

Gage is a member of the Mathematical Association of America, the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), and the Board of Trustees of the Internet Society (ISOC).

He has served on scientific advisory panels for the US National Research Council, the National Academy of Sciences, and the Multimedia Super Corridor Project of Malaysia. He also has been a member of the Board of Regents of the US National Library of Medicine, the Board of Trustees of Fermi National Laboratory, and the External Advisor Council for the World Bank.

The lecture is free and open to the public, but reservations are required. To RSVP or for more information, e-mail or call 412-624-5230.

This lecture is cosponsored by the Pittsburgh Technology Council.

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Sara Fine

Professor Emerita

School of Information Sciences

University of Pittsburgh

Professor Emerita Sara Fine, a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh and licensed psychologist, successfully united the behavioral sciences with the information sciences during her 23-year teaching career at SIS. This behavioral theme expanded over the years, evolving from a focus on interpersonal relationships into a more comprehensive focus that includes an understanding of human-machine relationships and compatibility. Throughout her career, Fine has been widely published and has conducted extensive research in the areas of behavioral communication and counseling aspects of library service; interpersonal and intercultural communications; human factors and technology; organizational behavior and management; and human information processing.

Fine remains active today. She continues to serve as a consultant and lecturer, and now holds the position of Professor of Information Science at Bar Ilan University, Tel Aviv, Israel.

Following her retirement in 1998, Fine's former students, colleagues, family, and friends established an endowment at SIS totaling more than $250,000 to support the Institute, its activities, and initiatives.

It is expected that the issues addressed by the Institute will interest other disciplines as well as the region's business and industry community with such themes as the impact of technology on productivity, the design of technical systems to be human-compatible, social and ethical issues, and organization management.

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