Humanity Examined, A New Podcast

November 17, 2021

By Annelise Ciccone ‘22

This fall, the Gregory J. Grappone Humanities Institute launched a new podcast, “Humanity Examined.” The student-produced podcast engages with individuals of all backgrounds from the Saint Anselm College community and the greater New Hampshire area, inviting them to tell their own stories and speak about how to get the most out of life through the lens of Humanities. The podcast is available to listen on Spotify and Apple.

Professor Gary Bouchard, executive director of the Humanities Institute, has made his dream a reality now that he has launched the podcast with his former honor students. Bouchard wanted to start a podcast since the Institute’s founding in 2018 but needed the interested students to help him produce one. He was in the right position when he found James Maloney ’24 as the host and Riley Buchanan ’24 as the graphic designer.

Naming the podcast took some time to settle on. They landed on the name from Socrates’ declaration that “The unexamined life is not worth living.”Humanity Examined graphics

Buchanan is majoring in marketing and relays she enjoyed the project. “[It was] really beneficial and exciting for me to work on the podcast title and cover graphic. It was fun to play around with different titles, images, and brandings and I’m proud of what we settled on.”

For the pilot, the debut guest was Robert Grappone H.D. ‘21, the Institute’s benefactor and co-founder. Bouchard had every confidence that Maloney would conduct a meaningful conversation with Grappone, and they recorded the first episode in July. Grappone and Maloney spoke for more than 20 minutes on a variety of topics including books and life. 

“It was such an honest and substantive conversation between a student and someone of Bob’s accomplishments, as if they just ended up in airplane seats next to one another,” Bouchard said. “Authentic, original, and really refreshing.”

Response to the first episode was positive, and praise came from influential places. Ken Burns, the documentary filmmaker and honorary chair of the Humanities Institute building campaign, shared that, “The earnestness of the interviewer was heartening.” The positive feedback only reassured the group to keep going. 

The group then traveled to Mont Vernon, N.H., where they interviewed artist Sylvia Nicolas, who has created many works of art on campus including the statues of Saint Anselm, Saint Benedict and the Grotto Madonna.

Working on the podcast has been an opportunity for Maloney to build valuable skills. He wishes to work in broadcasting or radio so the opportunity has furthered his interviewing and communication skills, which he is eager to add to his portfolio.

“I've always liked talking to different people from all walks of life,” shares Maloney. “Though It's important to have my own views, trying to understand other perspectives and seeing the full picture to any question helps our audience to have a greater open mind and passion for learning.”

Future plans for the December program of Humanity Examined will include an interview with a faculty member.

“I’m really excited to see how the program continues to develop,” said Bouchard. “I’m really happy the Humanities Institute finally has a podcast, and even happier that it is the product of a talented student willing to embrace the opportunity and make it happen.”

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