Schemel Forum Director appointed by President Obama to Commission on Presidential Scholars

The Weinberg Memorial Library would like to congratulate Schemel Forum director Sondra Myers on her appointment by President Obama to the Commission on Presidential Scholars.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, the Commission on Presidential Scholars is a “group of eminent private citizens appointed by the President to select and honor the Presidential Scholars.”  The Scholars are selected from a pool of candidates who “demonstrate exceptional accomplishments in academics, the arts, and an outstanding commitment to public service.”  We can’t think of a better way to describe Sondra and her contributions to the Schemel Forum, the University, the Scranton community, and the global, public good.


University for a Day

Take advantage of the opportunity to become college students for the first time or once again, through an innovative program offered by the Schemel Forum at The University of Scranton.  University for a Day, scheduled for Saturday, October 2, allows participants to attend lectures that explore topics ranging from slavery and Confucian philosophy to university professors’ role in the community and books and argumentation.

According to Sondra Myers, director of the Schemel Forum at The University of Scranton, the program provides an opportunity for attendees to come together to explore new topics and forge new relationships.  “Participants develop friendships through the collaborative community of learning that these programs provide,” said Myers.

University for a Day includes lunch sandwiched between four lectures/discussions led by university professors and other experts.  During one of the programs, University of Scranton professor of philosophy Ann Pang-White, Ph.D., will lead a discussion of eastern philosophy and western philosophers, pose some questions focusing on topics such as ethics and the rights theories, and introduce the concept of care in her presentation titled “Where East Meets West: Confucian Philosophy and a Post-Modern Ethics of Care.”  “By learning from other cultures, we can reexamine our own philosophical systems,” said Dr. Pang-White. “Despite the differences among the cultures, there is common ground between the east and west, and when the east meets the west, there can be great synergy that develops.”

Other programs planned are “’Our Peculiar Institution’: Slavery in the South” by Attorney Morey M. Myers; “Scaling the University’s Gates: The Professor in the Community” by Clement Price, professor of African American studies and founding director of the Institute on Ethnicity, Culture and the Modern Experience at Rutgers University, Newark, N.J.; and “Books and Argumentation: A Panel Discussion” featuring authors Christopher Hitchens and Jay Parini, and moderated by Morey Myers. “Books and Argumentation” is held in collaboration with the second annual Pages and Places Book Festival and will take place at the Scranton Cultural Center. Transportation to the center will be provided.

The University for a Day program will run from 8:45 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Patrick and Margaret DeNaples Center on The University of Scranton’s campus.  Seating is limited and reservations are required to attend. The participation fee is $25 for non-Schemel Forum members.  To register, contact Kym Balthazar Fetsko, events coordinator, at (570) 941-7816 or

University for a Day is made possible through the support of the Wachovia Regional Foundation and the Scranton Area Foundation.

Interdependence Day 2009

The city of Scranton is celebrating Interdependence Day this year on Thursday, September 10.  Launched in Philadelphia in 2003, Interdependence Day was created in reaction to the events of September 11, 2001 and is meant to be a time to reflect on how all peoples of the world are connected.

Several interdependence events will be held throughout the city and Northeastern Pennsylvania this week.  On Thursday, Kevin Klose, dean of the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland, will give the keynote address entitled “We the iPhone People: A Revolutionary Interdependence” at 5:30pm at the William J. Nealon Federal Building.  While this event is by invitation only, University of Scranton community members are welcome to attend “All You Have to Do is Listen,” a talk by NPR commentator Rob Kapilow, planned for Wednesday, September 16 at 7:30pm in the Houlihan McLean Center.

Many thanks to Sondra Myers, co-founder of Interdependence Day, Senior Fellow for International, Civic and Cultural Projects at the University of Scranton, and director of the Weinberg Memorial Library’s  Schemel Forum, for coordinating this year’s Interdependence Day events.

P.S. Interested in learning more about interdependence?  Browse the Weinberg Memorial Library’s catalog and check out one of our books.

Update: The University’s Associate Provost for civic engagement and University mission, Dr. Steven Jones, wrote a column on interdependence for the 9/11/2009 Scranton Times Tribune.

Robert Kuttner on “Obama’s Challenge”

Robert Kuttner, founding co-editor of The American Prospect and Senior Fellow at DEMOS, a New York-based think tank, came to campus today to speak at the Schemel Forum luncheon.

Robert Kuttner speaking at the DeNaples Center

Kuttner, author of Obama’s Challenge: America’s Economic Crisis and the Power of a Transformational Presidency, criticized President Obama’s approach to economic stimulus, saying that current policy was equivalent to “reinflating the bubble.”   He advocated that Obama listen to dissenting voices, including FDIC chair Sheila Bair and Economic Recovery Advisory Board chairman Paul Volker.  Kuttner’s talk was well attended, and there were excellent discussion questions from the audience.

Sondra Myers, Senior Fellow of the University, with Robert Kuttner at the book signing

After the luncheon, Kuttner stayed to sign copies of his book.  If you’re interested in Kuttner’s perspective (or his signature!), you can find a signed copy of Obama’s Challenge in our University Archives.  Also check out two of Kuttner’s other books, The Squandering of America: How the Failure of our Politics Undermines our Prosperity and The Life of the Party : the Democratic Prospects in 1988 and Beyond – both are available in the Library.

Many thanks to Schemel Forum director Sondra Myers for hosting another excellent event!

The Schemel Forum – Spring 2009

This Spring, the Weinberg Memorial Library’s Schemel Forum is offering a wealth of cultural enrichment opportunities, including three evening courses, a national issues forum, two luncheon seminars, and a piano recital.  Check out the Forum schedule (and the incredible range of the topics to be discussed) here.

At the April 29th Schemel Forum Luncheon Seminar, Parag Khanna, author of "The Second World," will speak on "A 21st Century Look at Global Politics and Economics."

At the April 29th Schemel Forum Luncheon Seminar, Parag Khanna, author of The Second World, will speak on “A 21st Century Look at Global Politics and Economics.”

What is the Schemel Forum?  According to the Forum’s director, University Senior Fellow and author Sondra Myers, “It is a noncredit, continuing education program for cultural enrichment at the University of Scranton, named for the late Rev. George Schemel, S.J., who was respected within the U.S. and abroad for his spiritual and educational talents… Schemel Forum courses are intergenerational and participatory.”* The class sizes are small, so discussion is encouraged (and lively!).

Why is the Forum important? Here’s Sondra again: “The Schemel Forum enriches the environment by stimulating people to think beyond their own fields of knowledge and create new ground for interaction, for envisioning the future, making new friends, and enjoying new experiences with old friends.”*

The Forum is open to the whole Scranton community – and University students, staff, and faculty are encouraged to get involved.   If you’re interested, check out the course offerings, and then contact Kym Fetsko at 570-941-7816 to register.

*Both quotations are from “Talk of the Times with Sondra Myers,” an article by Patrice Wilding in the September 3, 2008 Scranton Times-Tribune.