Well-known writer and biographer Jon Meacham is coming to the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts on Wednesday, Nov. 6 at 8 p.m. for an Open VISIONS Forum event: “The Liberal Arts in a General Culture: Gaining the Competitive Edge.” When discussing the event, Philip I. Eliasoph, Ph.D., a professor in visual and performing arts, wrote via email, “Fasten your seatbelts for a thrilling evening of ideas [and] opinions as we watch respectful civil discourse uplift our lives assuring the highest values of American democracy in our town hall setting.” This event will also be a special Annual Student Forum, meaning that Fairfield University students will be featured in a panel onstage with Meacham.
Meacham is known best for his presidential biographies such as “American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House” and “Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power.” One of his more recent books from 2018, “The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels,” inspects the “present moment in American politics and life by looking back at critical times in our history when hope overcame division and fear,” said the Quick Center’s webpage about the event. The description goes on to say, “Meacham describes historical moments when the ‘better angels of our nature,’ a term used by Abraham Lincoln, have repeatedly won the day.” His most recent book is titled, “Songs of America: Patriotism, Protest, and the Music That Made a Nation” and is co-written with country music singer Tim McGraw.
Eliasoph touched on the goals for the event. “We want to encourage to remember that when we speak of a ‘Fairfield education’ we should expand that to the immensely rich menu of cultural and intellectually enriching programs we offer through the Quick Center’s Open VISIONS Forum,” he wrote. “Beyond the walls of the classroom, here is a precious opportunity for students to engage with one of the leading ‘Influencers’ on the landscape of American ideas today.
“As an added bonus, having student leaders on the stage as part of this special ‘Student Forum’ adds more Stag Pride to the evening,” continued Eliasoph. The forum will feature a “broad spectrum of student social and political positions,” including the president of the on-campus organization Fairfield University College Democrats, Katherine Klima ‘20, as well as Jarrod Mullaly ‘20, president of Fairfield University College Republicans, and “journalistic insights” from The Fairfield Mirror’s Editor-in-Chief Lexi Thimble ‘20.
The custom of the Student Forum has been around at Fairfield for quite a long time. “This is the 22nd year we have featured the Student Forum,” elaborated Eliasoph. “It’s a lovely and honored tradition for us — watching our student leaders go ‘one on one’ with some of the nation’s top opinion makers and trend setting thinkers. At the very core and center of what we do at Fairfield is to assure our students the chance to participate and shape the ‘public conversation’ we want to encourage. Come out and support your fellow students as we think out loud along with one of America’s most respected authors and presidential historians — Mr. Meacham.”
Students can get tickets for Wednesday night’s event at the Quick Center’s box office for $5.
Editor’s Note: Seniors Lexi Thimble and Katherine Klima are the respective Editor-in-Chief and Executive Editor of The Mirror.