Spring Community Conversations series continues discussion of "People on the Move"

January 11, 2012
Contact: Chloe Kennedy, News and New Media Writer
865.981.8209; chloe.kennedy@maryvillecollege.edu

This semester, the Community Conversations series at Maryville College invites College and community members to explore “People on the Move.”

The spring series is a continuation of the fall 2011 series, which focused on the same theme.

Dr. Kelly Battles, assistant professor of English and chair of the Community Conversations committee, said the committee hopes speakers will capture a broad range of possibilities, “especially the positive potential contained within human movement.”

Community Conversations is an annual lecture series conducted to facilitate conversations and discussions between members of the entire Maryville College community, citizens of Blount County and surrounding areas, College alumni and prospective students.

“We envision this theme in an expansive way, encompassing human movement in geographic, spiritual, biological and cultural terms,” Battles said. “Speakers will address physical movement through space in the form of public policy debates about transportation and the way in which travel can shape one’s identity and worldview. Sometimes such movement can be contained within the mind or the body of the individual, and speakers on gender identity, spiritual identity, and death and bereavement will address this element of movement.”

The spring 2012 series will begin on Thurs., Feb. 16 with a presentation by Dr. Jason Troyer, associate professor of psychology at Maryville College, and Sarah Wimmer, support services program coordinator for Blount Memorial Hospice.

The title of their presentation, which will begin at 7 p.m. in the Clayton Center for the Arts’ Harold and Jean Lambert Recital Hall, is “Don’t Say ‘Dying:’ Facing Our Fears About Death and Grief.”

Frank Schaeffer, author and political commentator, will speak on campus on Tues., March 6. During his presentation, which will begin at 7 p.m. in the Maryville College Alumni Gymnasium, Schaeffer will discuss his movement away from the “religious right.”

Schaeffer, the son of the late evangelical theologian and author Francis Shaeffer, is a bestselling author, a self-taught documentary director, a feature film director and a producer of four low-budget Hollywood features. His 2007 memoir, Crazy for God: How I Grew Up As One Of The Elect, Help Found The Religious Right, And Lived To Take All (or Almost All) of It Back, offers a look at the American evangelical movement and describes Schaeffer’s personal odyssey of faith.

On Tues., March 27, author Blaine Paxton Hall will give a presentation titled “On the Way to Hestia’s House” at 7 p.m. in the Harold and Jean Lambert Recital Hall of the Clayton Center for the Arts.

Hall is the author of the 2003 memoir Hestia’s House, which outlines his lifelong inner and outer search for home, including his journey of undergoing female to male gender reassignment.

Randal O’Toole, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute specializing in urban growth, public land and transportation issues, will conclude the spring Community Conversations series with a presentation on Wed., April 4 at 7 p.m.

During his presentation, which will be held in the Clayton Center for the Arts’ Harold and Jean Lambert Recital Hall, O’Toole will discuss transportation and public policy.

As a free-market environmentalist, O’Toole worked from 1974 through 1995 helping environmental groups influence the Forest Service and national forest management. Since 1995, he has focused on urban issues, including transportation and regional planning. He has written four books, as well as numerous papers and articles about the best ways to protect the environment.

All events are free and open to the public. For more information about the spring Community Conversations series, please contact Battles at kelly.battles@maryvillecollege.edu or 865.273.8877.


Maryville College is ideally situated in Maryville, Tenn., between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Knoxville, the state's third largest city. Founded in 1819, it is the 12th oldest institution of higher learning in the South and maintains an affiliation with the Presbyterian Church (USA). Known for offering its students a rigorous and highly personal experience that includes an undergraduate research requirement, Maryville College is a nationally ranked institution of higher learning that successfully joins the liberal arts and professional preparation. Total enrollment for the fall 2013 semester is 1,168.