College to Host Symposium on the Future of the Liberal Arts

By Ryan Dougherty

To celebrate its sesquicentennial, Swarthmore College will host a symposium titled "The Future of the Liberal Arts" on Saturday, Feb. 22, in the Eugene and Theresa Lang Performing Arts Center (LPAC).

The symposium will include two panel discussions featuring distinguished alumni leaders in higher education, as well as a keynote address from Mary Schmidt Campbell '69, dean of the Tisch School of the Arts, New York University. Campbell's keynote is titled "The Role of the Arts in Liberal Arts Education."

"I consider Swarthmore alumni who are leaders in higher education to be among the College's greatest sources of pride," says President Rebecca Chopp. "This symposium offers a rare opportunity to feature their diverse thoughts and ideas."

Chopp will moderate "The Future of Knowledge," which will explore the future of liberal arts education in a rapidly changing world and how Swarthmore can lead the way. Speakers include:

  • Rebecca Bushnell '74, former dean and current School of Arts and Sciences Board of Overseers Professor of English, University of Pennsylvania
  • Sean Decatur '90, president, Kenyon College
  • Ellen Schall '69, Martin Cherkasky Professor of Health Policy & Management at NYU–Wagner and a senior presidential fellow at NYU
  • Philip Weiser '90, dean, University of Colorado−Boulder Law School

Janet Dickerson H'92, Board of Managers chair of student affairs and former dean of the College, will moderate as a diverse group of scholars express their views on "Fostering a Democratic Society through Education" and examine the role of liberal arts colleges in shaping better citizens and fostering democratic participation. Speakers include:

In addition to sharing their perspectives on the future of the liberal arts, panelists will describe the lessons learned and competencies honed at the College that prepared them for their careers.

The Institute for the Liberal Arts at Swarthmore College is presenting the symposium, for which no registration is required. It will also be streamed live on the College's website. The keynote address begins at 1:15 p.m., followed by the panel presentations at 2:15 and 4 p.m.