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With eloquence and swagger, Andrew Delbanco drops his mic on humanities

SMU Daily Campus

Originally Posted: September 25, 2015

Andrew Delbanco is the Mendelson Family Professor and director of American Studies at Columbia University, and has been distinguished for his work in humanities studies. His book “College: What It Was, Is, and Should Be” was written up in the New York Times Sunday Book Review. Delbanco is a visiting professor that delivered a speech Thursday, Sept.24, in Dedman Life Sciences Building.

He took the classroom, that evening, filled with students and teachers of all ages through the increasingly important question, “What is College for?”

Delbanco shares his historic approach on whether college is a lousy investment or not to a fully packed room, with some standing in the back. In this world of grade inflation and timeliness is college an “expensive dating service for pampered students?”

Grace Hogan is a 24-year-old SMU graduate and teacher at Uplift Heights Preparatory who works with low-income students. Hogan came with her foundations course on the history of higher education. “My students find themselves in a lot of these situations,” she says of the increasingly hostile environment in which kids justify to their parents the need for an education that may leave them in debt.

Delbanco argues for all sides, the institutions-most of which are public and underfunded, as well as the teachers and students. His style of taking concepts apart and arguing for their necessity in education at every level is an effort to cheat death, “to transmit to younger people what we have learned.” READ MORE