Historian tells crowd to embrace learning.
David McCullough delights a beyond-capacity audience. (Photo by David Noe) On Rollins’ 126 year anniversary, the Knowles Memorial Chapel was packed with a beyond-capacity crowd in attendance for a talk by celebrated author and historian David McCullough. An audience of more than 1000 students, faculty, staff and members of the Rollins community was captivated by McCullough’s powerful and enlightening stories and advice.
The final Winter Park Institute offering for the fall semester titled "History and the Love of Learning" carried on Hamilton Holt’s Animated Magazine tradition of bringing the most influential thinkers of the time to enlighten the Rollins community. The acclaimed scholar mused on a variety of topics but the common thread of being knowledgeable of the past and educating for the future was emphasized throughout the presentation.
“To be ignorant of how beholden we are to our ancestors is to be rude and ungrateful,” said McCullough. “This country was founded on the idea of education for all. To improve the quality and availability of education for our children and grandchildren, we have to attract the best and brightest people to the profession.”
McCullough told many entertaining and humorous stories about prominent historical educators including past Rollins President Hamilton Holt and Rollins alumnus Fred Rogers (Class of 1951). He eloquently intertwined insightful societal commentary with his philosophy on the importance of education in everyone’s life. McCullough closed by saying, “May we all be happy in our work and take joy in sustaining the American ideal of the love of lifelong learning.”
Following the event, Senior Distinguished Fellow of the Winter Park Institute Billy Collins commented on how McCullough is more than simply an influential historian. “He is a great storyteller and advocate of educational reform. His talk was a beautiful combination of anecdote and incitement for academic action.”
The line that formed for the book signing held after the program ended stretched the entire length of the Knowles Memorial Chapel and out the front door. As yet another widely acclaimed Winter Park Institute fall season draws to a close, excitement is already building for the spring 2012 schedule, which includes multiple discussions and performances by such scholars and artists as virtuosic jazz guitarist Pat Metheny, former CIA director Porter Goss and world-renowned primatologist Jane Goodall.
For more information on the Winter Park Institute’s 2012 calendar of events, please visit www.rollins.edu/wpi.