Food for Thought

Enjoy a fine meal and take part in thought-provoking conversations with distinguished Carolina faculty and alumni. Honors Carolina’s intimate Food for Thought dinner events are typically held every month throughout the academic year.

Food For Thought

Fall 2014 Schedule

All Food for Thought dinners are held Wednesdays at 6:30PM in Graham Memorial 011, unless otherwise noted.

Todd BenDor, Department of City & Regional Planning, Fall 2014Todd BenDor, Department of City & Regional Planning
Markets and Environmental Protection
September 3,

Todd BenDor holds a Ph.D. in Regional Planning from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is an Associate Professor of City and Regional Planning at UNC.  His research and teaching focus on the use of technology and modeling to better understand the impacts of urban growth on sensitive environmental systems.  He has also developed computer models to promote environmental conflict resolution and assess the opportunities and consequences of urban growth. Professor BenDor is a faculty member in UNC’s Curriculum for the Environment and Ecology and a fellow of the UNC Institute for the Environment and Center for Urban and Regional Studies.

Charles Merritt, Department of Economics, Fall 2014Charles Merritt, Department of Economics
Entrepreneurship: Path to Prosperity or False Hope?
October 1, 2014

Charles Merritt teaches at UNC in both the entrepreneurship minor and the Kenan-Flagler Business School. He completed his undergraduate education at UNC as a Morehead scholar and received his MBA from the Amos Tuck School of Business Administration at Dartmouth College. He has held various positions in private equity investing and has co-founded a private equity fund of funds business. Professor Merritt continues to consult to private equity general and limited partners.


Stan Ahalt, Department of Computer Science, Fall 2014Stan Ahalt, Department of Computer Science
Breaking Down Big Data
October 22, 2014

Stan Ahalt is a professor of computer science at UNC as well as the director of the Renaissance Computing Institute and the head of the Biomedical Informatics Core for the North Carolina Translational and Clinical Sciences Institute. He received a Ph.D. in electrical and computer engineering from Clemson University and was a professor at Ohio State University for 22 years.



Maryann Feldman, Department of Public Policy, Fall 2014Maryann Feldman, Department of Public Policy
The Character of Place and the Logic of Economic Development
October 28, 2014

*Please note that this is a Tuesday

Maryann Feldman is the Heninger Distinguished Professor in the UNC Department of Public Policy. Her research and teaching interests focus on the areas of innovation, the commercialization of academic research and the factors that promote technological change and economic growth. Her current research is concerned with the regional economy of the Research Triangle area. She received her Ph.D. in economics from Carnegie-Mellon University and has taught at Johns Hopkins University, the University of Toronto, and the University of Georgia.

Daniel Cobb, Department of American Studies, Fall 2014Daniel Cobb, Department of American Studies
Contemporary Native America
November 5, 2014

Daniel M. Cobb joined the Department of American Studies at UNC in fall 2010, after serving as a faculty member in the History Department at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio and as Assistant Director of the D’Arcy McNickle Center for American Indian and Indigenous Studies at the Newberry Library in Chicago. His research and teaching focuses on American Indian history since 1887, political activism, ethnohistorical methods, ethnobiography, memory, and global indigenous rights.

His first book, Native Activism in Cold War America: The Struggle for Sovereignty (2008), won the inaugural Labriola Center American Indian National Book Award in 2009. Dr. Cobb is the co-editor, with anthropologist Loretta Fowler, of Beyond Red Power:  American Indian Politics and Activism since 1900(2007) and, with Helen Sheumaker, Memory Matters (2011). In 2013, the University of Chicago Press published his revised and expanded fourth edition of William T. Hagan’s classic work American Indians. His essays have appeared in American Indian Quarterly, American Indian Culture and Research Journal, Western Historical Quarterly, and Chronicle of Higher Education.

Dr. Cobb’s current research and writing projects continue to explore American Indian political activism broadly conceived and have begun to move into the realm of ethnobiography. His next monograph focuses on the life of Ponca activist Clyde Warrior, a central figure in the American Indian youth movement of the 1960s. Completed forthcoming works include contributions to two edited volumes, Native Diasporas: Indigenous Identities and Settler Colonialism in the Americas; and Beyond Two Worlds, and he is also working on a primary document collection, tentatively titled Say We’re Nations, devoted to Native rights movements from the late nineteenth century to the present.

oldwellWendy Weber, Department of English and Comparative Literature
Coming Out Stories in Literature and Culture
November 19, 2014

Wendy Weber is a senior lecturer in the Department of English and Comparative Literature at UNC. She received her Ph.D. in English from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Her teaching and research interests include sexuality and gender studies, twentieth-century American and British literature, African-American literature, and composition. She is particularly interested in gay and lesbian literature and has published various articles on the subject.


Click here to see Food for Thought programs from previous semesters.