McDonald Center to host 11th A.V. Elliott Conference on Great Books and Ideas

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Exterior view of Mercer Quad, tall, brick college building

MACON — Mercer University’s Thomas C. and Ramona E. McDonald Center for America’s Founding Principles will host its 11th A.V. Elliott Conference on Great Books and Ideas focusing on the plays of William Shakespeare, specifically on issues of political philosophy. The conference is April 15-16 on the Macon campus. The conference is free and open to the public.

“We’re very excited to be bringing to campus some of the country’s finest scholars of the works of William Shakespeare. These plays have infinite riches for us to explore,” said Dr. Will Jordan, co-director of the McDonald Center and professor of political science.

In preparation for the conference, Dr. Jordan said the McDonald Center hosted faculty-student reading groups in both the fall and spring semesters. “A dozen faculty and almost two dozen students participated in these groups, as we enjoyed fantastic discussions about six plays,” he said.

This year’s conference includes lectures and panel discussions from 11 scholars from across the country, and five Mercer students will be presenting their research. The complete schedule and details are available online.

The McDonald Center for America’s Founding Principles has held an annual Conference on Great Books and Ideas since 2008. That conference was endowed with a $1 million gift from alumnus and trustee A.V. Elliott in November 2012. Elliott, a 1956 graduate of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences who majored in history and Christianity, went on to found Elliott Machine Shop, a 100-employee company in Macon. His success, he said, was in part due to his ability to think critically at important moments, a skill he honed in his humanities courses at Mercer.

About the Thomas C. and Ramona E. McDonald Center for America’s Founding Principles

The Thomas C. and Ramona E. McDonald Center for America’s Founding Principles exists to supplement Mercer University’s excellent liberal arts program with a redoubled commitment to the foundational texts and ideas that have shaped Western civilization and the American political order. This focus on the core texts of the Western tradition helps to revitalize a cross-centuries dialogue about citizenship, human rights, and political, economic and religious freedom, thereby deepening the moral imagination and fostering civic and cultural literacy.

The McDonald Center’s programming includes the annual A.V. Elliott Conference on Great Books and Ideas, faculty-student reading groups, a general education course on America’s Founding Principles, summer Great Books programs for high school teachers and students, and undergraduate research fellowships. All programming is designed to enhance Mercer’s long-standing role as a distinctive home of liberal learning, a place where serious students come to live the life of the mind and emerge more thoughtful and engaged citizens.