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College Celebrates Study of the Humanities

April 24, 2014

Laurie Morrissey
Communications and Marketing
(603) 641-7240

On April 29, Saint Anselm College will celebrate the humanities in a program called "Portraits Along the Way: A Tribute to the Humanities Program."

The afternoon program marks the full transition from Portraits of Human Greatness to Conversatio, the freshman humanities program that was launched last fall. It features lectures from key faculty members and opportunities for students and alumni to share their experiences of studying memorable individuals and ideas as freshmen and sophomores.

Studying the humanities is the foundational liberal arts experience shared by Saint Anselm students for 35 years, according to Br. Isaac Murphy, O.S.B., interim vice president for academic affairs. Conversatio reshapes and refreshes the shared learning experience in the humanities.

Like Portraits in Human Greatness, Conversatio fosters intellectual community and centers on the Catholic and Benedictine liberal arts tradition. The name comes from the third of three vows taken by Benedictine monks: conversatio morum, or fidelity to a monastic way of life. For the larger college community, this means faithfulness to an Anselmian way of life, Br. Isaac explains.

At noon on April 29, Duane Bruce, who for many years gave the concluding lecture of second-year Portraits of Human Greatness, will address students in the Dana Center. Now retired, Dr. Bruce has prepared a new lecture for the occasion of the program's last class meeting. It includes a history of the program and a discussion of the purposes and benefits of studying the humanities as an essential component of a Catholic liberal education.

At 4:00 p.m., alumni and members of the campus and monastic community are invited to hear English professor Gary Bouchard, who has lectured in the program since 1989. He is well known for his lecture on Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, "Five Green Things." He adds "...and 14,000 More" to the title because, he says, that is about how many students who have heard it.

Br. Isaac will introduce his lecture, and a reception on the new campus green will follow both events.

"Together with their professors, Saint Anselm students have considered the fundamental intellectual ideas that underlie western civilization," says Br. Isaac. "The slate of "portraits" has evolved, but each figure, whether it's Socrates, Queen Elizabeth, Boethius, or Saint Benedict, made us ask ourselves the big questions: Who are we? What is our relationship to the community, and to the divine?

This landmark day will be a fitting tribute to the program that continues to foster intellectual community as Saint Anselm College."