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The Malcolm Lester Phi Beta Kappa Lectures on Liberal Arts and Public Life

The Malcolm Lester Lectures are held annually as part of Mercer University’s Phi Beta Kappa induction ceremony. For each series, an important figure in American higher education delivers three lectures on the value of a liberal arts education. Named for its benefactor, a graduate of both Mercer University and the University of Virginia, this series fulfills Dr. Malcolm Lester’s vision for a series of lectures that supports the mission of the Phi Beta Kappa Society and that reaches a broad audience to influence the discourse about liberal arts in the United States.

Series Editor: David A. Davis
UVP Editor: Eric Brandt


The Problem with Rules

Essays on the Meaning and Value of Liberal Education John Churchill

There is a constant drumbeat of commentary claiming that STEM subjects—science, technology, engineering, and math—are far more valuable in today’s economy than traditional liberal arts courses such as philosophy or history. Many even claim that the liberal arts are "under siege" by neoliberal... More


Racism in American Public Life

A Call to Action Johnnetta Betsch Cole

For some in our society, diversity is a threat. Others feel society should be more inclusive, if only out of fairness. But as Johnnetta Cole argues in her new book, embracing diversity and inclusiveness is more than a virtuous ideal; it is essential to a healthy, productive society. Focusing on... More