Columbia University Professor to Speak at Armstrong on Feb. 26

(Feb. 21, 2014) —Armstrong will host a special presentation by esteemed author, prominent cultural critic and award-winning Columbia University professor Andrew Delbanco on Wednesday, Feb. 26 at noon in Student Union Ballrooms B and C.

Delbanco is the author of College: What It Was, Is, and Should Be, Armstrong's Common Read text for the 2013-2014 school year.

In his book, Delbanco defends the traditional four-year college experience and illustrates how a traditional four-year college experience—an exploratory time for students to discover their passions and test ideas and values with the help of teachers and peers—is in danger of becoming a thing of the past. He warns that college is becoming a privilege reserved for the relatively wealthy and argues that, as the commercialization of American higher education accelerates, more and more students are coming to college with the narrow aim of obtaining a pre-professional credential.

The Mendelson Family Chair of American Studies and Julian Clarence Levi Professor in the Humanities at Columbia University, Delbanco was awarded the 2011 National Humanities Medal by President Barack Obama “for his writing that spans the literature of Melville and Emerson to contemporary issues in higher education.”

He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and has been honored by Time magazine as “America's Best Social Critic.” He has won numerous awards including the Philip E. Fandson Award for Literature in the Field of Continuing Education and the National Humanities Medal.

Delbanco is also the author of Melville: His World and Work, The Death of Satan, Required Reading: Why Our American Classics Matter Now and The Real American Dream.

The Common Read is a nation-wide practice that has been well established for decades. It strives to provide a common learning experience for all first-year students and engages those students in academic and social development, impressing successful academic skills upon them from the very first day they arrive on campus. Armstrong approaches the Common Read as a campus-wide endeavor, including students at all stages of study from all four of Armstrong's colleges.