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Gould Lecture Series

The William R. and Erlyn J. Gould Distinguished Lecture on Technology and the Quality of Life was inaugurated October 7, 1992, at the University of Utah Marriott Library.

In establishing the lecture series, Bill and Erlyn Gould both recognized the critical need for continuing public education about issues regarding modern technology and its impact on our daily lives.

Inherent to the advantage of technology is the importance of understanding the ramifications and responsibilities that accompany modern scientific discovery. Only through continuing public education can scientific fact and social philosophy be successfully merged.

The lecture series is intended to provide a forum for the discussion of problems, issues, experiences, and successful case histories of the regeneration and preservation of our communities through the application of modern technology.

It is hoped that an increased awareness of obligation in the public trust will emerge among practitioners of technology as they address the very important environmental and life-deteriorating problems facing society today.

Through interaction between technologists and opinion leaders in communities that are the benefactors of their efforts, a synergism can develop through which society may see great benefit in the long-term future.

With the lecture series, it is intended that a dialogue be opened between the technologist, the philosopher, the humanist, the private citizen, and all who may wish to assert an active voice in our collective future.

In such an atmosphere of mutual interest and understanding, no one group will be singled out for exclusion or blame for society's ills; rather, through understanding, discourse, and public education the positive direction of our future may be shaped.

The Marriott Library's mission is to provide information in all formats sufficient to support the scholarship, teaching, and research programs of the University of Utah to its students and faculty, and to the citizens of the state.

In this light, the annual lecture will strive toward providing a greater public understanding of technology and the social potential that can be cultivated.

In conjunction with the Utah Science, Engineering, and Medical Archives program of the Marriott Library, the lecture series will provide the means of bridging the many disciplines of technology while meeting the needs of the public in understanding its rich and diverse technological heritage.

2016 Gretchen McClain

"Space Innovation = SUM(Talent + Technology + Leadership + Vision) = Progress"

Why Society Needs the Creativity and Collaboration of Space Exploration Today More Than Ever

Space exploration has created revolutionary technologies and innovations that have allowed mankind to advance our understanding of the unknown, and transform our lives here on Earth. But few know the extent to which the space program has shaped our economy, society, business and everyday lives. Space exploration has not only pioneered new life-changing technologies and innovations, it has ushered in a new age of critical thinking and a new way of problem solving through "an engineer's eye" that companies around the world now use to grow their businesses and create economic and social value. Our work in space has also fostered global collaboration that has turned former enemy nations into partners; taught the private, public and nonprofit sectors to work together on complex programs; and brought the world together in an unprecedented way. In this time of global challenges and division, we need space exploration for its ability to inspire us, teach us how to solve problems and unite us, just as much as we do for its next generation technologies. We need American space leadership more than ever.

A former NASA leader who was awarded the NASA Distinguished Service Medal and Fortune 1000 CEO, Gretchen McClain will share her insights on the value creating technologies that have come from our space programs, as well as the many other advances that the space exploration has contributed to business and society, from the ways we innovate and problem solve, to the ways we create social value and collaborate. She will share her experiences overseeing the first joint U.S.-Soviet missions and the building of the International Space Station, and serving as a top business executive, where she saw space technologies and problem solving advance global business and improve our way of living.

Gretchen W. McClain is an accomplished business leader who thrives on energizing organizations and building businesses by enhancing innovation and developing exceptional leadership talent. With more than 25 years of global experience in both Fortune 500 corporations and government service, including serving as founding CEO of an S&P 500 global water technology company, Xylem Inc., and NASA's Chief Director of the International Space Station, McClain brings extensive business, developmental, strategic and technical expertise.

McClain serves as a Board of Director for three publicly traded companies: AMETEK, Inc., Booz Allen Hamilton Holding Corporation, and Boart Longyear Limited; a private family owned business, J.M. Huber Corp; and serves as an Advisor to EPIC Ventures, an early stage venture firm. Through her consulting practice, GWMcClain Advisory Services, McClain provides leadership coaching and business services to CEOs and executives, frequently working with start-up businesses and private equity firms on strategic development, business growth and expansion, including M&A support. She is also a thought leader and speaker on connecting your work to your higher purpose, becoming a stand-out leader, and the adventurous paths available to engineers and technologists in the 21st Century.

McClain is actively involved in advocating for, and shaping the debate within, the technology, water and environmental spheres, and women in STEM. She serves as a member of United Technologies Corporation Innovation Advisory Council; University of Utah College of Engineering National Advisory Council; the Environment and Water Technologies International Advisory Panel for Singapore's Public Utilities Board; and the America's Water Steering committee at the Columbia Water Center, part of the Earth Institute at Columbia University. She also serves on the Board of Trustees, Intermountain Healthcare Central Region.


She graduated from the University of Utah with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering and received the University's prestigious Founders Award in 2015. McClain was inducted into the Utah Technology Council Hall of Fame and is the first woman to receive this honor.

12:00pm, September 21, 2016. 

Gould Auditorium. Free and open to the public.

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 Last Modified 8/31/16