Is it moral to steal food for the benefit of the hungry? Is violence ever necessary? What is the value of one human life?
On September 4, 2012, students, faculty, and staff will gather on the Westchester Campus for an exciting address from Harvard University professor and bestselling author Michael J. Sandel, where he will discuss these and other quandaries related to justice, equality, democracy, and citizenship at Pace’s 5th Annual Convocation.
Ina ddition to the keynote address and ceremony, Convocation festivities include a giant obstacle course, photo booth, tarot card reader, balloon artist, spin art stunner shades, sign shop, DJ, a huge lunch, popcorn, cotton candy, and more!
The theme of this year’s Convocation “The Quest for a Just Society” was inspired by Michael J. Sandel’s bestselling book Justice: What’s the Right Thing to Do?, which explores issues of morality, politics, and personal convictions. This year’s Convocation handbook, which was developed by Joseph Pastore, PhD, and the Justice Curricular Integration Committee, states that: “The search for justice impacts our daily lives as we seek to do what is right for ourselves and for others. This agenda is crucial in a university setting where the search for learning is premised upon the development of a ‘good society’ where human development, rights, virtues and character are critical…We hope the academic year, 2012‐2013, will be a time when the entire Pace University community unites in a search for the meaning of a just society.”
“Interestingly, we decided to experiment with a different approach to the common reading this year,” says Susan Maxam, university director of Student Success. “Rather than have the incoming students read Sandel’s book, we are providing them with a comprehensive, thought-provoking handbook and asking them to view Sandel’s videos.”
“Additionally, we have two University-wide committees working tirelessly to integrate the theme into the student experience from both a curricular and co-curricular perspective,” she says. “This theme has garnered more excitement than any past theme; in fact, the enthusiasm from the faculty, students, and staff is palpable!”
Maxam emphasizes that this year’s Convocation and common reading theme is not about telling students what to think, but rather how to think. The efforts, she hopes, will get students engaged in dialogues that facilitate critical thinking. “We want them to see that there are many perspectives to each justice-related issue,” says Maxam. “And that it is important to consider them all before deciding for themselves what is ‘right.’”
Buses to the Pleasantville Campus will depart from the Schimmel Theater between 11:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. and the Convocation Ceremony will begin at 2:00 p.m. For more information about Convocation and this year’s common reading selection, please visit www.pace.edu/convocation.