Athenaeum kicks off powerhouse week, Fall semester

The new season at the Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum opens Sept. 16 with a powerhouse week that features a best-selling memoirist, a psychiatrist researching brain stimulation, a public health leader, and a former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. A week, in other words, that exemplifies the Ath’s commitment to enhancing CMC’s liberal arts education by bringing wide-ranging ideas and viewpoints to campus.

This fall, about 35 speakers will be taking the stage to address topics including megafires and ocean conservation, U.S.-China relations and Brexit, contemporary economics and politics, and the role of imagination in social policy and of vulnerability in leadership.

Director Priya Junnar said the varied schedule, which includes a robust lineup of science speakers, came together with the involvement of people across campus. “I’m thankful to the entire CMC community — students, faculty, staff, alumni, parents and trustees — whose ideas and suggestions make it possible to develop and curate a speaker — and topic — lineup unlike any other in American higher education,” said Junnar.

Among the speakers are several CMC alumni, including Paul Beninger ’73 P’09, associate professor of Public Health & Community Medicine at Tufts University, speaking about developing drugs for devastating diseases; tech-industry leader Jonathan Rosenberg ’83 P’14, sharing insights from the book he co-authored with Eric Schmidt, Trillion Dollar Coach; Matthew Grossman ’01, associate professor of political science at Michigan State University, discussing the stalled conservative revolution; father-daughter team, Jeff Klein ’75 P’08 P’11 P’14 and Kendyl Klein ’14, offering generational perspectives on mass media; Michael Shear ’90, a New York Times correspondent covering the Trump White House, sharing an insider look at President Trump’s immigration policies; and Jasmine Shirey ’18, the first recipient of the Elbaz Post-Graduate Fellowship in Human Rights, who will explore common narratives and misconceptions about employment and international aid.

The vibrant intellectual life the Ath fosters at CMC was one reason Sophia Krivatsy ’21 applied to become a Woolley Fellow, one of three students whose duties include hosting, introducing guests and helping moderate the Q & A that follows each talk.

“I want to help further diversify the programming and encourage even more perspectives,” said Krivatsy, a Honolulu native who is a dual psychology and sociology major. “I think it is very important that we listen to as many voices as possible, and that students at CMC all have the opportunity to attend not only Ath talks that challenge their perspectives, but also talks that they can relate to. The more we can learn about each other and the cultures we all come from, the more we can grow as CMC students — and humans, in general.”