Chautauqua: "Future of Liberal Education"

Published on April 22, 2016

How does a liberal education benefit students, and how can it prepare them for success in the real world?

Dr. Michael S. Roth will share his answers to these questions at his Chautauqua lecture on Thursday, May 5, at Eastern Kentucky University. The president of Wesleyan University, as well as a historian, curator and author, he will present “The Future of Liberal Education: Transformations, Possibilities and Opportunities” at 7:30 p.m. in O’Donnell Hall of the Whitlock Building. His talk is free and open to the public.

During his time as president of Wesleyan University, Roth has increased grant support for students who receive financial aid and has overseen the launch of the Allbritton Center for the Study of Public Life, the Shapiro Creative Writing Center and four new interdisciplinary colleges. He also continues to teach undergraduate courses.

Roth has written numerous books, including “Beyond the University: Why Liberal Education Matters,” published in 2014, “Memory, Trauma and History: Essays on Living with the Past,” published in 2012, and “Irresistible Decay: Ruins Reclaimed, with Clare Lyons and Charles Merewether,” published in 1997. He has co-edited many other books and journal issues and regularly publishes essays, book reviews and commentaries in national newspapers, scholarly journals and The Huffington Post.

His book “Irresistible Decay” stemmed from the exhibition of the same name that he co-curated for the opening of the Getty Museum. Roth also curated the “Sigmund Freud: Conflict and Culture” exhibition, which opened at the Library of Congress in 1998, was praised for its balanced and wide-ranging view of Freud’s intellectual and cultural heritage and travelled internationally in subsequent years.

A native of Brooklyn, Roth was among the first generation of his family to attend college. He completed his undergraduate studies as Wesleyan University, where he designed a university major in the history of psychological theory and wrote a thesis titled “Freud and Revolution,” which was the basis of his first book and Library of Congress exhibition.

He earned his doctorate from Princeton University and was a professor and program director at a number of institutions. He also led the scholars and seminars program at the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles, in addition to serving as associate director. Previously, he was president of the California College of the Arts and led an effort to revise the school’s curriculum to emphasize interdisciplinary work and liberal learning.

His lecture is sponsored by the Office of the President; the Office of Graduate Education and Research; the College of Education; Department of Languages, Cultures & Humanities; the Comparative Humanities Program, and EKU Honors.

For more information, visit or contact Chautauqua Lecture Coordinator Dr. Erik Liddell at