The Salem State University Darwin FestivalSM was started in 1980 by Virginia Keville and Philip DePalma as part of a course in “Human and Social Biology”. It honors the extraordinary impact Darwin’s work has had on so many areas of human endeavor. This unique lecture series brings scientists and their research to undergraduates and others in the university and wider community. It is also unusual in incorporating an interdisciplinary approach that brings scholars in the social sciences and humanities to campus as part of the program, stressing the relationship among all areas of academic inquiry. Speakers have been sponsored by departments of chemistry and physics, geography, geological sciences, philosophy, psychology, the student Biological Society, and the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi.
For many years, the city of Salem, through the Charles Albert Read Trust, has been a partner in sponsoring the Darwin FestivalSM. Charles Albert Read was born in Salem in 1811 and educated in Salem’s public schools. His greatest business success was in railroads. In his later years he lived in Newton, but he enjoyed periodic visits to the city of his birth throughout his life. Upon his death in 1882, Read left generous bequests to the cities of Salem and Newton for a number of activities including popular science lectures. To that end, the Charles Albert Read Trust provides invaluable support to Salem State’s Darwin Festival SM.
Financial support is provided by Salem State University, the Charles Albert Read Trust from the city of Salem, the Biological Society, the Keville-DePalma Darwin FestivalSM Endowment fund, several publishers and individual contributions.