On Jan. 26, for the first time since March 2020, the Franklin & Marshall community will gather in person for Common Hour, a weekly event for everyone on campus to participate in a dialogue about world-shaping social and political issues.
Events are Thursdays from 11:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. and are held in Mayser Center unless otherwise noted. Due to COVID restrictions and public-safety concerns about large gatherings, Common Hour was virtual for the entire 2020-21 and 2021-22 academic years and the fall semester of this academic year. The events are open to the Lancaster community.
The kickoff event of 2023, “Memory and Enslavement: The Case of Franklin & Marshall College,” will feature Hilary Green ’99, the James B. Duke Professor of Africana Studies at Davidson College. Green’s expertise is in Civil War and Reconstruction, and her most recent scholarship has focused on two areas: how African-Americans remembered and commemorated the Civil War, and the history of slavery on college and university campuses.
Common Hour Committee Chair Jim Strick, program program chair of Science, Technology and Society, looks forward to resuming in-person Common Hours after more than two years of holding the events over Zoom. He pointed out that the majority of current students are unfamiliar with the tradition of gathering in person for the weekly talks.
“It was a familiar sight to see lines of students heading to Mayser every Thursday for Common Hour in past years,” Strick said. “I hope some of the seniors who remember that habit will lead the pack and help to drive enthusiasm for a return to this distinctive opportunity to gather as a community and engage in dialogue with thought-provoking speakers and each other.”
There are 13 Common Hour talks on the schedule for the spring semester. Three of them feature faculty experts from F&M. Three others, including Green’s talk, feature alumni who are leaders in their fields. The final event of the academic year, on April 27, is a student concert featuring the College’s popular a cappella groups.
Half of the events will feature free pizza since Common Hour is held over the typical lunch break for most students, faculty and professional staff. For events that do not feature pizza, the community is encouraged to bring their packed lunch to Mayser.
Many of the events, including those featuring F&M faculty experts and alumni, will be recorded and shared with off-campus audiences, including alumni, students studying abroad, and friends of the College.