Stamford’s Civility in America speaker series continued Tuesday with guest speaker Georgia Nugent. The classicist and former president of Kenyon College talked about the relationship between civility, liberal arts, and our classical heritage.
“One of the things that I thought would be fun to think about in this series about civility is how have our views been affected by classical notions of civility and how are those still with us,” Nugent says.
Nugent says many concepts in today’s society can be connected back to Ancient Greece or Rome. She spoke specifically about how our government has been influenced by classical times.
“So on the positive side, I think it provided those ideals of living in a democratic state,” she says. “in reality it was a little messier than that, and maybe it’s not surprising that ours is a little messier too.”
Nugent also spoke about the importance of higher education. She says colleges are like miniature democracies that teach students how to be civil in the real world.
“In many ways I think it’s an opportunity for them as they’re maturing to kind of test out those values of how you do learn to get along with other folks who are different from yourself, learning problem solving, learning leadership, taking part so that your community flourishes. So in many ways they’re little proving grounds for the kind of society I think that we hope we’ll build.”