Quest History

In 1979, the Scholarly and Creativity Activities Committee (SCAC), then known as the Faculty Research Committee (FRC), began exploring ways to encourage research on campus. One suggestion was to have a Scholarly Activities at Oswego Conference Day, where faculty could present their research to the campus community.

The first Quest was held the following spring with a total of 77 presentations. FRC Chair Helen Daly was the organizer. It was decided to call the conference “Quest ’80” after our quest for knowledge.

In the opening session of the first Quest, Assistant Provost Gubbi Sachidanandan (Sachi) introduced President Virginia Radley, who spoke on “Reasons Why,” and Provost Ralph Spencer, who spoke on “Quest for What.” After the second successful Quest, it was decided that it should be an annual program, with classes suspended to allow for greater participation. The following year Quest included Honors Convocation. Quest ’83 also offered the first President’s Award for Creative and Scholarly Activity and Research and the first Sigma Xi lecture the eve of Quest. In 1980, all of the Quest presentations were in Hewitt Union. Lanigan Hall was used extensively for the first time at Quest '93. Quest is now  held in the newly created Campus Center.

Few students presented their work in the original Quest ’80. Now students give the majority of presentations. Quest ’04 even offered a presentation by a deaf student with the help of a signer. Quest ’96 was dedicated to the memory of Helen Daly, because she took the concept of Quest and turned it into reality. Dr. Daly successfully ran Quest for three years, after which others have chaired or co-chaired the Quest Subcommittee. These included Jack Narayan, Warren Flint, Vince D’Ambrosio, Said Atri,Joe LeFevre, Karen Nicholas, Terry Hammill, Nola Heidlebaugh, Mary Loe, Alok Kumar, Al Lackey, and Sarfraz Mian. In 1995, SCAC petitioned the administration for help in running Quest, and in 1996, Bill Bosch began chairing the Quest Subcommittee in his capacity as Director of CELT. In 2007, Jack Gelfand began chairing the Quest Subcommittee in his capacity as Director of the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs (ORSP). Dr. Norm Weiner is the Coordinator for Quest 2014.

In 2013, 505 students delivered 357 presentations describing their projects. These projects were mentored by 145  faculty members. A wide range of topics and presentation formats were offered including Cinema and Screen Studies panels, The Jan Kochanowski Student Conference on Cultural Studies, Sustainability Symposium and the Global Lab.