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Skidmore College

Hall to give Jon Ramsey Honors Forum lecture Dec. 1

November 27, 2011

"Who's Afraid of Self-Reliance?" is the title of the Jon Ramsey Honors Forum Lecture to be delivered Thursday, Dec. 1, by Linda Hall, associate professor of English.

Sponsored by the Honors Forum, the event will begin at 5:15 p.m. in Gannett Auditorium of Palamountain Hall. Admission is free and open to the public.

In her talk Hall will consider the comments of two noted thinkers: the late critic Edwin Denby, who once asserted, "Education is a lazy way of learning"; and Ralph Waldo Emerson, who said, "The things taught in schools and colleges are not an education but the means of an education." Are they both right? On Dec. 1, Hall will explain why the answer is ultimately up to the student.

A member of the Skidmore faculty since 2003, Hall came from New York City, where she taught at Fordham and Columbia universities. She holds a B.A. in political science from Sarah Lawrence College and an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing from Columbia University.

Formerly a staff writer for New York Magazine, she has published essays and reviews in The American Prospect, Salmagundi, Under the Sun, Southwest Review, and The Hudson Review.Four of her essays - including "How to End Up Alone," published in 2010 in Southwest Review - have been cited as "Notable" by The Best American Essays. She is the recipient of the 2006 McGinnis-Ritchie Award for Nonfiction for her essay titled "Why Read Aloud?"

Her teaching interests include a number of courses on nonfiction writing, including literary journalism, science writing, and political writing. She recently taught a Scribner Seminar titled "Writing America: The Contemporary Essay." In 2007 Hall was selected by the graduating class to deliver the commencement keynote speech.

The annual Honors Forum Lecture, launched in 1999, was renamed in 2004 in honor of newly retired Skidmore English professor and administrator Jon Ramsey. In nearly three decades at Skidmore, Ramsey served as associate dean and dean of studies and as director of student academic affairs; he was instrumental in creating the Honors Forum and the Office of International Programs. Selection of the annual Ramsey Honors Forum Lecturer is a student-driven process that provides opportunity for the Honors Forum students to hear Skidmore faculty members talk about their academic passions.

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