Published on April 15, 2011 by Emily Hart  

Eric Fournier, geography department chair at Samford University, will present the inaugural James O. Wheeler Memorial Lecture April 20 at the University of Georgia.

Fournier’s lecture is “Degrees of Cooling: Creative class language and downtown revitalization efforts in Birmingham, Alabama.”

“It is about how city leaders have embraced the language and tactics of the creative class movement in order to stimulate growth and development in the central business district, Fournier explained.

James Wheeler was one of the best-known urban and economic geographers of the 20th century, Fournier said. Wheeler served as Fournier’s graduate adviser on both his master’s and doctoral degrees.

“I owe a lot to him for my career successes,” said Fournier.

A committee of UGA faculty and Dr. Emily Wheeler, James Wheeler’s widow, asked Fournier to present the inaugural lecture.

“To be asked back to the department where I got both my master’s and Ph.D. is a big deal. The talk itself will be in the same room where I taught my first class, so it will be a bit like time traveling.  This is a big league department at a big-time university, and for a faculty member at Samford to be asked to speak at a place like Georgia is indeed an honor,” said Fournier.

Fournier has taught at Samford since 1997.

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.