Social critic Delbanco to answer 'What Is College For?'

September 27, 2013

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Andrew Delbanco will give the public presentation “What Is College For?” from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 30, in Foster Auditorium, 102 Paterno Library. It will also be broadcast online at Delbanco is currently the Mendelson Family Chair of American Studies and Julian Clarence Levi Professor in the Humanities at Columbia University.

A high-profile speaker and prolific author, Delbanco was awarded the 2011 National Humanities Medal by President Barack Obama “for his writing that spans the literature of Melville and Emerson to contemporary issues in higher education.” His most recent books are “College: What It Was, Is and Should Be,” (Princeton University Press, 2012) and “The Abolitionist Imagination,” (Harvard University Press, 2012).

In 2001, he was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and named by Time Magazine as America’s Best Social Critic. In 2003, the New York Council for the Humanities named him New York State Scholar of the Year; in 2006, he received the Great Teacher Award from the Society of Columbia Graduates; and in 2013, he was elected to membership in the American Philosophical Society.

The presentation is free, does not require pre-registration and is sponsored by Penn State’s Center for the Study of Higher Education, Schreyer Institute for Teaching Excellence and University Libraries. It is also the opening keynote address for the Schreyer Conference 2013 on Oct. 31. For more details on the conference, see

For more information or if you anticipate needing accessibility accommodations or have questions about the physical access provided, contact Deirdre Yingling at or 814-865-0282, during normal business hours.

Last Updated January 09, 2015