Published: March 6, 1997

It’s not a place, it’s more an idea, but the humanities disciplines at the University of Colorado at Boulder can now call it a home.

The Center for Humanities and the Arts was launched officially on March 5 at a reception celebrating the critical role the arts and humanities play in a true liberal arts education.

The center will sponsor colloquia, lectures, performances, exhibitions and research that focus on “our nature as human beings, where we’ve been and where we’re going,” said Associate Professor Christopher Braider, chairman of the French and Italian department and the center’s co-director.

In its first years the center will not have a specific location but will be an interdisciplinary program uniting the humanities and arts departments in the College of Arts and Sciences. Activities will be organized under the broad title, “The Humanities at the Crossroads.”

The Boulder-Denver community as well as the campus community will be invited to join activities that analyze contemporary issues through a prism of the social sciences, history, philosophy, languages, literature, education, journalism, law and the visual and performing arts. The first-year theme is “Civility and Censorship: Critical Conversations in a Civil Society.

Helen and Gary Christy, who are 1958 CU graduates, helped jump-start the new program with their generous support for a distinguished lecture series in conjunction with the center. The Christys strongly believe the study of humanities and arts is a critical component of a well-rounded education and fosters the development of a person as an individual.

Dean Peter Spear of the College of Arts and Sciences and Dean Carol Lynch of the Graduate School launched the new humanities initiative with support from Wallace Loh, vice chancellor of academic affairs.