Secretary of Smithsonian Institution to Speak at University of West Georgia

Thursday, October 24, 2013

The University of West Georgia College of Arts and Humanities is serving as the statewide host site for discussion on a national report titled “The Heart of the Matter: the Humanities and Social Sciences” conducted by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences.

G. Wayne Clough, secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, president emeritus of Georgia Institute of Technology and a member of the commission, will be attending UWG as part of the discussion on Oct. 31, 2013. As leader of the Smithsonian Institution, Clough oversees the world’s largest museum and research complex, consisting of 19 museums and galleries, the National Zoo and nine research facilities.

“The humanities – our history, literature, poetry, stories – impart knowledge and critical thinking skills, attributes essential to our personal success and productivity as citizens in today’s world,” said Jamil Zainaldin, president of the Georgia Humanities Council.

The report is in response to a bipartisan request from members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives who wanted to know actions Congress and others should take regarding the long-term sustainability and national excellence of the education in the humanities and social sciences. The UWG College of Arts and Humanities Second Annual Symposium on The Shape of the Humanities in Higher Education is the first site to host the discussion in Georgia. The American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Federation of State Humanities Council, the Georgia Humanities Council and the Georgia Public Library Service are sponsoring and helping to promote the event at UWG.

“We’re honored and excited to have our event selected as the state of Georgia’s site for a sponsored discussion of ‘The Heart of the Matter,’” said Dr. Randy Hendricks, dean of UWG College of Arts and Humanities and moderator for the symposium. “With Secretary Clough, Rosanna Warren, Esther Mackintosh and Robert Schaefer as our panelists, the event promises to be a highlight in the life of our campus, our community and our state. Our thanks to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Federation of State Humanities Council, the Georgia Public Library Service and the Georgia Humanities Council for their support.”

The symposium is held during the Department of Foreign Languages and Literature’s 28th Annual Interdisciplinary Conference in the Humanities, which brings more than 100 scholars from around the state, nation and seven other countries to campus on Oct. 31 through Nov. 3. Dr. AnaLouise Keating, professor of women’s studies at Texas Woman’s University, will deliver the keynote address for the conference on Nov. 1 at 1:30 p.m. in the Campus Center Ballroom.

“The University of West Georgia is the ideal venue for an in-depth discussion on ‘The Heart of the Matter,’" said John Tessitore, director of programming for the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. "For 28 years, UWG’s conference on the humanities in education has focused on the importance of interdisciplinary scholarship and well-rounded education. The Academy Commission is pleased to be able to participate in the conversation this year. This is exactly the type of conversation that we hoped would follow the release of our report.”

The symposium features a panel of speakers including Clough, Esther Mackintosh, president of the Federation of State Humanities Council, Rosanna Warren, award-winning poet and endowed professor at the University of Chicago, and Robert Schaefer, professor of political science and chair of the Department of Political Science and Planning at UWG. A dinner for the conference participants concluding with brief remarks from Clough will precede the symposium at 6:30 p.m., with the panelist discussion beginning at 7:30 p.m. at the Townsend Center for the Performing Arts. The 7:30 event is free and open to the public. Warren will also deliver a poetry reading on Nov.1 at 7:00 p.m. in the Kathy Cashen Recital Hall.

“We are grateful to the University of West Georgia for helping us to advance this conversation about the important role the humanities and social sciences play in American society,” said Mackintosh. “I can think of no setting more appropriate than the prestigious Symposium on The Shape of the Humanities for exploring the findings and recommendations the Commission has provided in their significant and timely report.”

“Georgia Public Library Service is honored to be a partner in this event honoring our longtime friend Wayne Clough,” said Lamar Veatch, state librarian for Georgia Public Library Service. “He has enjoyed a remarkable tenure at Georgia Tech and the Smithsonian Institution, and we are thrilled to be able to participate in this recognition.”

The Commission to create “The Heart of the Matter” report includes 53 nationally prominent representatives from industry, government, academia and the arts. The group is co-chaired by Richard Brodhead, president of Duke University, and John W. Rowe, retired chairman and chief executive officer of the Exelon Corporation. Other prominent members include journalist David Brooks, filmmaker Ken Burns, poet Dana Gioia, musician and songwriter Emmylou Harris, actor John Lithgow, film producer George Lucas, musician Yo-Yo Ma, Boeing President James McNerney and former Supreme Court Associate Justice David Souter.

For more information on the University of West Georgia College of Arts and Humanities, please visit www.westga.edu/coah. To view the complete Commission report, please visit www.humanitiescommission.org.

Photo: G. Wayne Clough
Credit: Smithsonian Institution