College of Arts and Sciences

John Hallwas giving a lecture

John Hallwas Liberal Arts Lecture

In September 2003, English Professor and Historian John Hallwas delivered the inaugural Liberal Arts Lecture on “The Liberal Arts, Civic Responsibility and Western’s Mission.” Political Science Professor and Chair Charles Helm presented the 2004 lecture, “Declining Civic Engagement: Democratic Theory and Liberal Arts to the Rescue?” The 2005 lecture, “Reading Between the (Front) Lines: Science and Stories,” was given by Karen B. Mann, professor of English and journalism.

The Liberal Arts Lecture is an outgrowth of the College of Arts and Sciences liberal arts discussion group formed in 2002 as a way to express commitment to a liberal arts education at Western and share approaches for maintaining a high quality educational program.

Dr. Hallwas wrote, “In the face of increasing vocational emphasis in higher education, pervasive shallowness in our culture, and excessive individualism (that overlooks social commitment), we believe that the liberal arts component of our bachelor’s degree program should dare to assert that there is inherent value in learning, that human purposes must always receive reflective reconsideration, that coherence of thought and clarity of expression are essential values, that breadth of outlook and cultural sensitivity are indispensable, and most importantly, that transformation of the self to prepare for civic responsibility should be central to the undergraduate experience.”

The College of Arts and Sciences announced the renaming of the lecture to the John Hallwas Liberal Arts Lecture in September 2004 at Hallwas’s retirement reception, where he was honored for 34 years of service to Western Illinois as an English professor and archivist as well as a public scholar, regional historian and community activist.

Lecture Archive