Olympic medalist Kuck, Oscar winner Debevec to speak at Friday assembly
Published: Thursday, April 8, 2010 - 10:21am
When & Where: 3 p.m. Friday, Uni Gym
What: Students will have a chance to listen to and mingle with Olympian Jonathan Kuck (Uni '07) and Academy Award winner Paul Debevec (Uni '88) at this mandatory assembly; Uni parents and local alums have been invited to attend as well.
Who: Debevec, a research associate professor and associate director for graphics research at the University of Southern California's Institute for Creative Technologies, won a 2009 Scientific and Engineering Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for work on "Avatar"; Kuck, a student at the University of Illinois, is a speedskater who competed in two events at the 2010 Winter Olympics, winning a silver medal in team pursuit.
Photo credit: Debevec.org
Photo credit: Associated Press
URBANA — On Friday, two Uni graduates who enjoyed major successes this winter will return to their alma mater for an assembly and reception.
Paul Debevec ('88) and Jonathan Kuck ('07) will be the guests of honor at the assembly, which begins 3 p.m. in Uni Gym (see below for Friday's bell schedule). Parents and local alums have been invited to share in the event.
In January, Debevec and three colleagues won a Scientific and Engineering Academy Award for their work in developing the Light Stage capture devices and image-based facial rendering system used in such films as "Avatar," "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," and "Spider-Man 2." The innovations allow filmmakers to create photorealistic digital faces, according to the Academy.
Debevec teaches at the University of Southern California, where he is a research associate professor in the computer science department of USC's Viterbi School of Engineering and associate director for graphics research at the USC Institute for Creative Technologies.
In February, Kuck competed in two events for the United States as a speedskater in 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. He and two teammates won the silver medal in the team pursuit event, placing second to Canada. They were edged out of the gold by only .21 seconds. Competing individually in the 10,000 meters, Kuck finished in eighth place.
Kuck is a student in engineering physics at the University of Illinois. He went on leave in order to train for and compete in the Olympics.
Director of Advancement Karen Cooley is in charge of planning Friday's event. She chose these two alums to be featured in the assembly because their accomplishments were so recent and their schedules allowed them to participate. Kuck is in town on his sabbatical from the U of I, while Debevec is visiting Champaign to attend another event at the University of Illinois, a conference called TEDxUIUC.
"Our alums are very well known across the country," said Cooley. "It is just not these two who have made it big. It is quite a few. But both of these alums happened to be in town at the same time, and we thought what better way to actually honor them for what they have accomplished than to allow our community to get to know them and see what they have accomplished."
The assembly will start with Director Jeff Walkington introducing the guests. Kuck and Debevec will each use visual media to do a 15-20 minute presentation on their experiences and how they rose to their current positions.
Cooley will make a few closing comments, and then students will be released to mingle with the guests. The advancement office will provide refreshments of cookies and drinks after the speeches.
"I think it is a great opportunity for students to get to meet some of the alums who have accomplished great things," noted Cooley, "and to see what they can accomplish and the opportunities available to them in the future."
BELL SCHEDULE FOR FRIDAY'S ASSEMBLY
- 1st hour: 8 - 8:43 a.m.
- 2nd hour: 8:48 - 9:31 a.m.
- 3rd hour: 9:36 - 10:19 a.m.
- 4th hour: 10:24 - 11:07 a.m.
- 5th hour: 11:12 - 11:55 a.m.
- Lunch: 11:55 a.m. - 12:26 p.m.
- 6th hour: 12:31 - 1:14 p.m.
- 7th hour: 1:19 - 2:02 p.m.
- 8th hour: 2:07 - 2:50 p.m.
- Assembly: 3 - 3:50 p.m.