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WIU Foreign Languages and Literatures Chair Gary Schmidt
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Schmidt to Deliver Hallwas Lecture Sept. 9-10

August 26, 2015

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MACOMB, IL - Western Illinois University Foreign Languages and Literatures Chair Gary Schmidt will deliver the 13th annual John Hallwas Liberal Arts Lecture Wednesday-Thursday, Sept. 9-10.

The lecture, titled "The Role of the Liberal Arts in Fostering Empathy: Language, Literature, and Human Understanding," will be presented at 3 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 9 in Riverfront Hall, on the WIU-Quad Cities campus. Schmidt will then deliver the lecture on the Macomb campus at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 10 in the University Union Grand Ballroom.

"As a relative newcomer to WIU, I am particularly honored to have been chosen to deliver this lecture, which is such an important annual event for the College of Arts and Sciences and the entire University," said Schmidt. "Studying the liberal arts as an undergraduate had a positive impact on every aspect of my life; it is the fulfillment of a dream for me to become a public voice for them."

Schmidt is also a professor at Western, teaching a liberal arts literature class in the Fall 2015 semester. He received his bachelor's degree from Knox College, his master's degrees from Northern Illinois University and the University of California, Santa Barbara and his doctoral degree from Washington University in St. Louis, MO.

Schmidt has research and teaching interests in Contemporary German Literature and Film, Thomas Mann, Austrian Literature, Gender Studies and Queer Theory and Post World-War II Literature.

"In the Hallwas lecture, I will focus on how the critical study of languages and literatures empowers students to intellectual self-determination and, along with other core disciplines of the liberal arts and sciences, creates the foundation for our ability to empathize, to place ourselves in the position of others who on the surface appear to be different," Schmidt said.

The annual liberal arts lecture is named for English Professor and Historian John Hallwas, who delivered the inaugural address in 2003. The lecture is managed by the WIU College of Arts and Sciences and serves to promote education in the liberal arts at Western.

For more information about the lecture series, visit

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