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Session 47 - The Shapley Visiting Lectureship Program.
Topical, Oral session, Tuesday, June 09

[47.05] The Shapley Program 1985 - 1990: The Virginia Years

C. R. Tolbert (University of Virginia)

The Shapley Program moved to the University of Virginia from the University of Delaware in the summer of 1985. Prior to moving to Charlottesville the program had been run by Harry Shipman. 1985 - 1986 was the year of Comet Halley, and it was also the year that the program reached its peak of visits made by the astronomical community. We scheduled 135 visits that year. Luckily, I was new on the job and didn't realize the effort that would be involved in coordinating that many visiting astronomers. One way or the other we got through the "big" year and, after consultation with the Council, established a maximum number of visits to be scheduled per year at 80. We maintained that number every year through the Virginia period.

It was during this time that the office purchased its first computer and computerized the mailing list. We sent brochures to some 2,000 plus colleges and junior colleges throughout the US, Canada and Mexico. (regrettably, we never received a request form a Mexican school.) The fee charged to the school for each visit was $75 per visit in the beginning and rose to $200 per school by the end of the period. The rest of the costs of the program were borne by the Shapley Endowment Fund and the AAS Education Office. We waived the fee from a number of schools on request.

In addition to being a Shapley Lecturer myself, I had the great pleasure during this period of receiving the many compliments about the program. There is no question that the Shapley Visiting Lectureships Program provides an excellent service to small colleges in both the US and Canada. Based on the reports of our success, the American Physical Society re-instituted their lecture program as did the American Optical Society.

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