A Matter of Style: Reflections on Liberal Education (A matter of style : reflections on liberal education, Lawrence University Matriculation Convocation Addresses, 1979-2003)

 
9780961342975: A Matter of Style: Reflections on Liberal Education (A matter of style : reflections on liberal education, Lawrence University Matriculation Convocation Addresses, 1979-2003)

The tradition of convocations at Lawrence derives from an older tradition of chapel services, which first began in 1856 and, until the mid-1870s, occurred twice daily. After that point and until 1927, Lawrence required students to attend chapel services only once a day. The term convocation first appeared in the 1926-27 catalogue, where it was called "a regular college assembly." Thus, convocations replaced chapel services and were held for 25 minutes three times each week in Memorial Chapel, although attendance was still required. During the next 40 years, the frequency and duration of convocations varied; by the mid-1960s, they were held once a month, but attendance continued to be required. The faculty approved a plan in 1968 to reduce the convocations to two a year- Matriculation and Honors Day-and to drop the attendance requirement. In 1978, at the initiative of Richard Warch, then Lawrence's chief academic officer, the present convocation series-which typically includes five or six a year-was launched. Attendance is voluntary. Convocations were described in a catalogue entry during Nathan Pusey's presidency as "a kind of general all-college course without formal requirements or credit." In many ways, that description still fits. Traditionally, the president addresses the community at the Matriculation Convocation, and President Warch did so on twenty-five occasions. Those speeches, which collectively assess, critique, and celebrate features of liberal education and the liberal arts college-especially Lawrence-at the end of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st, are gathered in this volume, along with an introductory essay and a version of both his welcome to new students and his closing commencement address to the members of the graduating class.

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