Nebraska Lecture to feature Centennial College alumni

· 3 min read

Nebraska Lecture to feature Centennial College alumni

Bikes sit in racks outside Centennial College buildings. The college is a focus of the next Nebraska Lecture on Oct. 12.
University Archives and Special Collections
Bikes sit in racks outside Centennial College buildings. The college is a focus of the next Nebraska Lecture on Oct. 12.

Alumni from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s Centennial College will be featured in a panel discussion during the next Nebraska Lecture.

The talk, “Navigating Change Forward — Creativity in Community: Reviving UNL’s Centennial Education Program,” is 1:30 p.m. Oct. 12 in the Love Library Auditorium. The discussion, which is free and open to the public, is part of a 50th reunion for participants in the Centennial College program.

Panelists, all alumni of the program, are Paul Olson, Barbara Smith, Ned Hedges and Ali Moeller.

Centennial College, officially named the Centennial Educational Program, opened in the fall of 1969 and continued until the spring of 1981. The innovative college was created to celebrate the university’s centennial celebration in 1969.

Centennial College evolved into a cluster college where students could live and study together. Woods Charitable Fund awarded a $38,000 grant for the planning and a faculty-student committee chaired by Robert Knoll prepared an interdisciplinary curriculum. Knoll was the first senior fellow/head of the program.

“The old idea of the professor as the authority figure dispensing received wisdom was replaced by the idea of the teacher as a guide,” Knoll wrote in his book, “Prairie University.” “Students were to find their own way in the underbrush, rescued by their teachers when lost.”

The college received 850 applications for its first term, admitting 125 first-year students and 40 upperclassmen.

"An Economist Holds Court," a photo from the University Archives' Centennial College collection.
University Archives and Special Collections
An economist meets with Centennial College students. The photo is featured in a Centennial College exhibition on display in Love Library.

The Centennial College panel is the 10th presentation in the 2019 Nebraska Lectures: Chancellor’s Distinguished Speaker series. Regularly offered twice a year and featuring faculty discussing research and creative activity, the series has expanded in 2019 to a year-long, 12-talk format celebrating the university’s 150th anniversary. The expanded series is supported through a $15,000 grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities through Humanities Nebraska.

All talks in the N150-inspired Chancellor’s Lecture series are free and open to the public. The talks will be streamed online and made available via podcast. Additional lecture topics and dates will be announced. Regular updates as well as videos from each lecture are available through the Nebraska Lectures website.

The Nebraska Lecture series is sponsored by the Research Council, Office of the Chancellor, Office of Research and Economic Development, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute and Humanities Nebraska.

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