Prof. Tomas Venclova: the Future of the University

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Wednesday, September 12th, renowned Lithuanian poet and Yale Professor Emeritus Dr. Tomas Venclova held a lecture-discussion titled "A Perspective from Yale: the Mission and Future of Today‘s University“ in one of the historic halls of VMU‘s Lozoraičių Museum.

Offering humorous and insightful anecdotes from his past teaching career, Prof. Venclova compared universities in the United States to those in Lithuania, all the while discussing the value of a liberal arts education. The session was moderated by Prof. Egidijus Aleksandravičius, who guided the course of discussion by posing bold, important, and thought-provoking questions: how does the economic outlook affect a student‘s decision to choose a specialized versus liberal arts education? How is it, that the broad (and sometimes seemingly irrelevant) knowledge gained from a liberal arts education can turn out to be so incredibly necessary on a student‘s journey to becoming a well-rounded person of depth?

The lecture was supported in part by VMU Vice-Dean for Public Communication, Prof. Auksė Balčytienė, who is distinguished for her unwavering belief in the importance of self-development, empathy, and genuine individualism. "It‘s important for us to discuss how today‘s universities are changing amid their increasingly consumerist and superficial surroundings…how institutions of higher learning can find strength and stand up against unbridled capitalism and other such competing forces."

After a lively discussion, participants were invited to the Historic Presidential Palace of Lithuania where Prof. Venclova performed selections of his poetry.

About Prof. Tomas Venclova

Prof. Tomas Venclova – renowned poet, intellectual, literature researcher, Yale University professor, and acclaimed Soviet-era dissident having chosen the fate of an Lithuanian emigrant. His poetry, translated into numerous languages around the world, is recognized as some of the most influential Lithuanian writing of the 20th and 21st centuries. In 2010, Prof. Venclova received an honorary doctorate from Vytautas Magnus University for his accomplishments.

You are welcome to view the photo report by Jonas Petronis (j.petronis@vkt.vdu.lt).

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