Scranton’s “University for a Day” Celebrates ‘Freedom and Justice’

Aug 21, 2013

On Saturday, Sept. 21, The University of Scranton’s Schemel Forum will present its University for a Day. A local attorney, a Scranton faculty member and two scholars from eastern universities will share their wisdom on the subject of freedom and justice in America – beginning with its founding, continuing through the Civil War and the Great Emancipation, and concluding with a look at our responsibilities today to ensure freedom and justice for the future.

“Through the revolution in communications and information technologies, we are one world,” said Sondra Myers, director of the Schemel Forum at The University of Scranton. “We know more about the consequences of our behavior, environmentally and socio-politically. In that context we will examine emancipation from the birth of our nation to the ongoing struggle for emancipation in our time.”

Offered every fall, University for a Day features four lectures and discussion, with ample time for mingling over morning coffee, lunch and a closing reception. The event will run from 8:45 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. in Brennan Hall on campus.

The program begins with “The Declaration of Independence: Our Guiding Light and an Inspiration to the World.” Morey M. Myers, Esq., of Counsel, Myers, Brier & Kelly, LLP, in Scranton, will discuss why our nation’s most revered document has been so canonized, how earlier challenges to British control influenced its writing, and its importance, both at the time of its creation and today.

Next, a lecture titled “Culture and Conflict: New England, Old England and the Civil War” will be presented by Leonard G. Gougeon, Ph.D., distinguished professor of American literature at The University of Scranton. He will examine the cultural conflict that erupted between New England poets and intellectuals and their British counterparts as a result of tensions arising out of the Civil War. Dr. Gougeon said that “this conflict occurred along a cultural fault line between an imperialistic, high Victorian culture based on well defined distinctions of class, caste and race and a New England culture based on the principles of universal freedom and equality.”

After lunch, University for a Day welcomes Clement A. Price, Ph.D., board of governors distinguished service professor of history and director of the Institute on Ethnicity, Culture and the Modern Experience at Rutgers University, Newark, N.J.

Dr. Price will present “The Great Emancipation of 1863: A Momentous Achievement – A Work in Progress.”

“At the centennial of this milestone, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. famously observed that ‘the Negro is still not free,’” said Dr. Price. “Surely, he did not mean that black Americans were still bond laborers, but the deeper meaning of freedom – access to opportunities afforded to other Americans whose forebears had been enslaved on American soil – was still denied to many blacks.”

Thomas Pogge, Ph.D., Leitner Professor of Philosophy and International Affairs and director of the Global Justice Program at Yale University, New Haven, Conn., will deliver the final lecture, “Global Justice: What are the Responsibilities of Citizens?” Dr. Pogge argues that without a powerful lobbying force, the interests of the global poor are sidelined, ensuring that they cannot partake proportionally in global economic growth. Through intergovernmental negotiations, large corporations, banks, industry associations and hedge funds, billionaires are in an especially good position to influence in their own favor. He suggests that since our government is a very powerful participant in those negotiations, acting in our name, we all share responsibility for the harms that slanted supranational institutional arrangements do to the poor. In light of this responsibility, we have an obligation to act on behalf of the poor by working toward institutional reforms and/or supporting effective organizations that protect them.

         Seating is limited and reservations are required to attend the Schemel Forum’s University for a Day program, which is sponsored by the Neighborhood Development Fund and the Scranton Area Foundation. The participation fee is $25 for non-Schemel Forum members, which includes morning coffee, lunch and a reception.

         To register, contact Kym Fetsko, events coordinator, at (570) 941-7816 or For more information on Schemel Forum programs and memberships, contact Sondra Myers at (570) 941-4089 or 


The Schemel Forum is a program of participatory learning experiences aimed at cultivating the intellect and the imagination through study and discussion of classical texts and current policies, from the arts, history and philosophy to technology and theology. Founded in 2006 through generous gifts to the Rev. George Schemel, S.J., Fund, the forum has grown quickly from a handful of informal lectures to a comprehensive enrichment program of study, dialogue, performances and special events. Session fees vary by program.



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