The humble beginnings of the Graduate Institute of the Liberal
Arts in 1952 and the half-century of growth since its inception
will be commemorated April 11–13, as the ILA toasts its 50th
anniversary with a celebration featuring a variety of panel and
roundtable discussions, receptions and get-togethers.
Many ILA graduates are returning to campus to attend (and, in some
cases, present), and several graduates on the Emory faculty and
staff will be mixed in as well.
‘We see this as an opportunity to call attention to the subject
of interdisciplinarity. We want to bring it back into people’s
consciousness,” said Jean Wynn, undergraduate secretary in
ILA and one of the conference organizers. She came to the ILA last
fall, along with current Director Walt Reed, professor of English.
Work on the celebration began in October, shortly after their arrival.
“It isn’t a strange word anymore, but it’s interesting
to consider what had happened to interdisciplinary work in the past
few years,” she continued.
At 50 years of age, Emory’s ILA is one of the oldest interdisciplinary
programs in the country. At the time of its founding, very few institutions
could boast of an entity that opened up cross-discipline conversations
and research in the social sciences and humanities—the kind
the institute practices to this day.
The weekend’s three colloquiums will explore the African American
experience, ILA in academic administration, and the future of ILA
(titled “Looking Ahead: Where We Are Going”). As a thematic
bookend, the conference’s opening plenary, “Looking
Back: Where We Have Been” will be an overview of ILA’s
history, followed by a cocktail reception in Woodruff Library’s
On Saturday afternoon, four roundtable discussions (on American
studies, religion and literature, women’s studies, and public
scholarship) will take place in the Callaway Center. Colloquiums
are scheduled before and after the roundtables.
Panel presenters will include current ILA students and professors;
ILA graduates, some of whom have faculty positions at other institutions;
and ILA graduates who are part of the Emory community, such as Oxford
College Dean and CEO Dana Greene (’71G), Emory College Senior
Associate Dean Rosemary Magee (’82G); Alice Benston, associate
professor of theater studies (’62G); Virginia Shadron (’91G),
director of special projects in the graduate school; and Assistant
Vice Provost Kim Loudermilk (’97G).
Spelman College English and women’s studies Professor Gloria
Wade-Gayles (’81G) will deliver the keynote address during
the conference banquet at 7 p.m. on April 12. The banquet also will
feature a performance by Resonance, a Spelman verse choir.
The celebration is free for Emory faculty, staff and students. For
others, registration is $20. A full conference schedule, as well
as a detailed history of ILA, can be found at www.emory.edu/COLLEGE/ILA.
For more information, contact Wynn at 404-727-7601.