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MU to Host Distinguished Lecturer

Tim Page will present his thoughts on music, art and living with Asperger's Syndrome

April 17, 2009

Story Contact:  Jeffrey Beeson, (573) 882-9144,

COLUMBIA, Mo. - Tim Page is a Pulitzer-Prize-winning author, professor and journalist, and he has done it all with Asperger's Syndrome (AS). On April 20, Page will give the presentation for the Chancellor's Distinguished Lectures series in Jesse Wrench Auditorium at 7:30 p.m. on the MU campus.

A 1979 graduate of Columbia University, Page has written about and critiqued music, art and culture since his college days. While in school, he worked for The Soho News as a contemporary music critic. In 1982, he began working for The New York Times where he wrote about music and culture until 1987. Recognition and acclaim found Page when he became the music critic at the Washington Post. His work for the Post earned him a Pulitzer Prize in 1997. After receiving his Pulitzer Prize, he began working for the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra as the creative chair and currently is publishing his memoirs about his experience with AS.

"We are so pleased to have Tim Page on campus," Chancellor Emeritus Richard Wallace, said. "At the University of Missouri, we always strive to provide our community with the opportunity to listen and engage with some of the world's leading professionals, and Tim Page certainly fits that mold. His keen insight into the world of music, art and culture, combined with his personal story of perseverance, makes him an incredibly interesting and stimulating presenter."

Although he has AS, Page insists that it isn't a debilitating disease and strives to be an example and source of knowledge for those with Asperger's. The causes of AS are relatively unknown, but researchers believe that there is a genetic cause. It is known as an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in that it has many similarities to autism but is not identical. One effect of AS is that it limits one's ability to develop socially and comprehend conversational nuances. In many situations AS causes people to intensely focus on very specific ideas and objects (such as cars, planes, or cameras); those thoughts can come to dominate their relationships with other people. For instance, many people with AS tend to talk extensively about one subject without regard for the interest of others because they can't comprehend the social signs that the other person is displaying.

Page's lecture is part of the Chancellor's Distinguished Lectures series, which strives to bring notable speakers to campus to discuss their expertise and research with faculty, staff, students and the Columbia community.