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About the Distinguished Scholar
Lecture Series

History of Speakers

Dr. W. Robert Connor is the 2012 Distinguished Lecturer

W. Robert ConnorDr. W. Robert Connor will be featured Wednesday, April 11, 2012, in the Liberal Arts 2012 Distinguished Scholars Lecture Series. Connor, who has his Ph.D. in Classics, will speak on "Why Literature?: The Long Term Effects of Studying Languages and Literature". The lecture will take place at 6:00 PM in Kleymeyer Hall with a reception to follow in the McCutchan/Pace Gallery. The Department of Modern and Classical Languages has organized the event.


W. Robert Connor came to the New York-based Teagle Foundation as its president in early 2003, re-affirming the Foundation's long-standing commitment to higher education, and re-focusing it on improving student learning in the liberal arts and sciences.  His belief that such learning can--and must--be brought to a much higher level is reflected in the Foundation's grant initiatives in Value-Added Assessment, Fresh Thinking for Liberal Education, Big Questions of Meaning and Value, and College-Community Connections.  (These programs are described on the Foundation's website, which is designed to provide ideas and know-how about strengthening liberal education, as well as to offer information about the Foundation's grantmaking.)

Bob retired as president of the Foundation at the end of 2009, but continues to serve as its senior advisor.

Bob was born in Worcester, Massachusetts, graduated from Hamilton College, and after a stint in Oxford, received his PhD in Classics from Princeton in 1961.  A few years later, he returned to Princeton, where he taught and administered until 1989, when he became the president and director of the National Humanities Center in the Research Triangle Park of North Carolina.  He lives in Hillsborough, North Carolina with his Byzantinist wife, Carolyn Connor.  He holds honorary degrees from several colleges and is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society.

What is the Distinguished Scholar Lecture?

During the spring semester the College of Liberal Arts engages a speaker for the Distinguished Scholar Presentation.   This presentation is to draw attention to one or more of the disciplines within the college, to appeal to the general public and to faculty and students by illustrating high intellectual achievement.  Programs are of general humanistic appeal with interdisciplinary topics.  The speaker is asked to make one public presentation and one presentation to students.

The responsibility for identifying and contacting the annual speaker falls to individual departments within the college on a rotating basis.  The reasons for taking this approach are not only to identify worthwhile speakers but also to insure "ownership" of the program for that year by the department and to insure a good student turn out.

Funding for the Liberal Arts Distinguished Scholar Presentation derives from resources in the Provost's office and from grants.

Until 1995 the Liberal Arts Distinguished Scholar Presentation was called the Enlow Distinguished Scholar Presentation, a program which now has become its own entity. Through 1988, the speaker was a presentation of the Division of Humanities and the departmental committee did not necessarily seek to bring in a speaker from within its own discipline.

Check back later for information on the Spring 2012 presentation.

History of speakers

2011-2012 W. Robert Connor, Senior Advisor, The Teagle Foundation
2010-2011 Barbara Rosenwein, Professor of History at Loyola University in Chicago, Illinois
2009-2010 Alan Cheuse, National Public Radio’s “Voice of Books” and professor of English at George Mason University, teaching in their Creative Writing Program
2008-2009 Dr. Roy F. Fox, Professor of English Education at the University of Missouri-Columbia
2007-2008 John David Mooney, an artist, who is the founder and artistic director of the John David Mooney Foundation
2006-2007 Dr. S. Ravi Rajan, Associate Professor of Environmental Studies and Provost of College Eight at the University of California, Santa Cruz
2005-2006 Dr. Nancy Tuana, Professor of Philosophy and Women's Studies, Penn State University
2004-2005: Dr. Alan Dawley, Professor of History at the College of New Jersey
2003-2004: Dr. Wolfgang Mieder, professor of German and Folklore at the University of Vermont
2002-2003: Dr. Judy C. Pearson, professor of communication, director of the doctoral program, and associate dean of the college of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences at North Dakota State University
2001-2002: E. Ethelbert Miller, Poet and Humanities Lecturer
2000-2001 E. Mark Cummings, Notre Dame
1999-2000: Judy Chicago, Feminist, Artist
1998-1999: William Corsaro, IU Sociologist
1997-1998: Francis Fukuyama, George Mason U. Political Scientist
1996-1997: (none)
1995-1996: (none)
1994-1995: Jonathan Brown, Historian at the U. of Texas
1993-1994: Uwe Timm, German author and Screenwriter
1992-1993: (none)
1991-1992: Tony Jones, School of the Chicago Art Institute
1990-1991: Dale Van Etta, Investigative Reporter
1989-1990: Nikki Giovanni, Poet
1988-1989: Richard Cohen, Columnist
1987-1988: Allan Bloom, Philosopher
1986-1987: Karl Haas, Musician, Broadcaster
1985-1986: John Ciardi, Poet