New Yorker Writer Louis Menand to Deliver ‘Leading Voices in Higher Education’ Lecture



Visit the Strategic Planning website for the most current “Leading Voices in Higher Education” information and schedule.


Louis Menand, a keen observer of the role of higher education in society, will deliver the William Jewett Tucker lecture, “Are the Great Books the Moral Heart of Liberal Education?” on February 16 at 4 p.m. in Moore Hall, Filene Auditorium.

The lecture, which is part of the “Leading Voices in Higher Education” strategic planning speaker series, is free and open to the public.

The Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Professor of English at Harvard University, Menand received the 2002 Pulitzer Prize in History for his book, The Metaphysical Club: A Story of Ideas in America. Called “compulsively readable” by Publishers Weekly, the book examines the intellectual history of late 19th- and early 20th-century America.

A contributor to The New Yorker since 1991, Menand wrote an article for the magazine in 2011 titled, “Live and Learn: Why we have college.” The article was based partly on a question asked of Menand early in his career by one of his students. The question, which Menand wrote was “perfectly legitimate” was, “Why did we have to buy this book?”

Menand’s latest book is The Marketplace of Ideas: Reform and Resistance in the American University. In 2004 he spoke at the Dartmouth conference, “The Liberal Education: Dead or Alive?”

The Reverend Richard Crocker, dean of the Tucker Foundation, will introduce Menand. Named after William Jewett Tucker, the College’s ninth president, the Tucker Foundation is Dartmouth’s center for service and spirituality.

About “Leading Voices in Higher Education”

The “Leading Voices” speaker series is part of Dartmouth’s strategic planning process, which began last summer.

Provost Carol Folt says, “We are drawing the best thinkers and innovators in higher education today. Ideas for the series are coming from our strategic planning working group members, who suggested speakers who will challenge and inspire our community as we work together to chart a course for Dartmouth’s future.”

The next speaker in “Leading Voices in Higher Education,” on February 27, is cultural historian Robert Darnton, Harvard University librarian and professor, who will deliver the Donoho Colloquium, “The Digital Public Library of America and the Digital Future,” sponsored by The Neukom Institute for Computational Science and the Friends of the Dartmouth College Library. Darnton’s talk begins at 5 p.m., in Moore Hall’s Filene Auditorium.

Darnton will be followed on February 29 by Ben Wildavsky, author of The Great Brain Race: How Global Universities Are Reshaping the World.

Future speakers include social psychologist Roy Baumeister; sociologist and Columbia Provost Emeritus Jonathan R. Cole; longtime Princeton Dean Nancy Weiss Malkiel; and Freeman A. Hrabowski III, president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

The first speaker in the public lecture series was renowned humanities scholar Cathy Davidson, author of Now You See It: How the Brain Science of Attention Will Transform the Way We Live, Work, and Learn.

Dartmouth Professor Vijay Govindarajan, the Earl C. Daum 1924 Professor of International Business at the Tuck School of Business, presented a strategic planning talk about the changing nature of education, in which he asked the Dartmouth community to consider how education is changing.

“If we want to continue to be a leader, the question we need to ask is, ‘How is the world of higher education likely to change?’ If the 20th century is an American century, I say the 21st century is the global century,” said Govindarajan. “What are the implications of that for higher education?”

Steven Smith