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    Author of ‘Rescuing Socrates’ Speaks at ScrantonImpact Banner

    Author of ‘Rescuing Socrates’ Speaks at Scranton

    Roosevelt Montás, Ph.D., author of “Rescuing Socrates: How the Great Books Changed My Life and Why They Matter for a New Generation,” presented The Sondra and Morey Myers Distinguished Visiting Fellowship in the Humanities and Civic Engagement Lecture at The University of Scranton. From left, David Dzurec, Ph.D., associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences; Jeff Gingerich, Ph.D., provost and senior vice president for academic affairs; Michelle Maldonado, Ph.D., dean of the College of Arts and Sciences; Dr. Montás; Sondra Myers, senior fellow for international, civic and cultural projects and director of the Schemel Forum at The University of Scranton; Morey Myers, J.D.; and Matthew Meyer, Ph.D., professor of philosophy and faculty director of the Gail and Francis Slattery Center for the Humanities.
    February 16, 2022
    By: Alison D’Mello ’22, student correspondent
    “Liberal education is the portion of your education that is due to you from us by virtue of your humanity."- Roosevelt Montás, Ph.D.

    On Thursday, February 10, an audience of University students, staff and invited guests joined guest lecturer, Roosevelt Montás, Ph.D., in the Moskovitz Theater at The DeNaples Center for the Sondra and Morey Myers Distinguished Visiting Fellowship in the Humanities and Civic Engagement Lecture. Sponsored by The Gail and Francis Slattery Center for Ignatian Humanities, the lecture, entitled “Liberal Education for Human Freedom,” addressed Dr. Montás’ view on the importance of a liberal arts education.

    Dr. Montás is a senior lecturer in American Studies and English at Columbia University and author of “Rescuing Socrates: How the Great Books Changed My Life and Why They Matter for a New Generation.”

    After a brief introduction from Provost and Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs, Jeff P. Gingerich Ph.D., and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Michelle Maldonado Ph.D., Dr. Montás began his lecture by directly addressing students in the audience.

    “Liberal education is the portion of your education that is due to you from us by virtue of your humanity,” said Dr. Montás.

    He went on to structure the lecture by elaborating on key terms in the title: human, liberal education, and freedom.

    Beginning with a brief evolutionary overview of how humans as a species grew to be the dominant creature on earth, Dr. Montás stressed the idea that as we continue to progress technologically, it is becoming increasingly important that we are all well-versed in how to make ethical decisions that will impact our species for years to come.

    When discussing the term liberal education, the topic of his book, Dr. Montás prefaced his explanation by stating that it has nothing to do with political ideologies. Here, he uses the term liberal as it pertains to the concept of freedom. In contrast to a technical, applied or servile education, a liberal education is an all-encompassing education that goes beyond utilitarian instruction and encourages students to explore concepts outside of their chosen career areas. Dr. Montás advocates for such an education by exploring its fundamental role in a functioning democratic society.

    “There is no area of human understanding and human learning that lies outside of what this individual, who is being prepared for a life of citizenship and for a life of self-governance, needs to know,” he said.

    In order to ensure that students are adequately prepared to experience true freedom, his final term, Dr. Montás quoted Frederick Douglass to draw a connection between the withholding of literacy as a means to control slaves. He alludes to the concept of modern “wage slavery” where individuals are so busy trying to earn enough money to make ends meet, that they do not get to live beyond merely trying to survive.

    Dr. Montás concluded his talk with the statement that, “although we can’t change society in one fell swoop, the university’s mission must include looking beyond the materialist ethos of our time and educating ourselves to be free rather than enslaved to our desire for power, wealth and security.”

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    Alison D’Mello ’22, East Brunswick, New Jersey, is a social media strategies major at The University of Scranton.
    Alison D’Mello ’22, East Brunswick, New Jersey, is a social media strategies major at The University of Scranton.
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