"What is College For?" topic of next Common Curriculum Speaker Series

Publication Date

Author, professor and cultural critic Andrew Delbanco will discuss what a true college education should be Sunday, Sept. 22 at 5 p.m. in the Nott Memorial as part of the Common Curriculum Speaker Series.

His talk, "What is College For?” is free and open to the public.

Delbanco is the author of the recent College: What it Was, Is, and Should Be, which “seeks to persuade not by driving a stake into the opponent's position or even paying much attention to it, but by offering us examples of the experience it celebrates,” wrote Stanley Fish in the New York Times. “Delbanco's is not an argument for, but a display of, the value of a liberal arts education."

The book has been honored with the Philip E. Frandson Award for Literature in the Field of Continuing Education, University Professional and Continuing Higher Education Association; the Gold Medal in Education II (Commentary/Theory), Independent Publisher Book Awards; and the O.L. Davis, Jr. Book Award, American Association for Teaching and Curriculum.

Delbanco is the Mendelson Family Chair of American Studies and the Julian Clarence Levi Professor in the Humanities at Columbia University. He is the author of numerous books, including Melville: His World and Work, which won the Lionel Trilling Award and was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times book prize in biography. In 2011, Delbanco was awarded the National Humanities Medal for his writing.

This is the second year of the Common Curriculum Speaker Series, which invites individuals to campus twice a year to engage the campus community in the meaning of the liberal arts.

Speakers spend the day on campus, visiting classes, particularly those in the Common Curriculum such as First-Year Preceptorial. They also lead discussions in informal settings and conclude their visit with a public talk in the Nott. The first speaker in the series was Mark Roche, author of the award-winning Why Choose the Liberal Arts.

The Common Curriculum Speaker Series is sponsored by the General Education Board.