Hermesian Room of Byars Hall Tuesday, January 22, 6:00pm
A group of Emory & Henry students has re-founded an historic literary society and will host a series of debates Jan. 22 and Feb. 5, the society’s first official event since it disbanded in the 1960s.
Fourteen members of the Hermesian Literary Society will participate in debates that will begin at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 22, in the historic Hermesian Room of Byars Hall on the E&H campus. A second round of debates will commence at the same time and in the same location on Feb. 5. The debates are free of charge and open to the public.
Bringing back the Hermesian Society helps to not only re-establish an E&H tradition; it also reinforces the value of a liberal arts education at a time when higher education is becoming overly specialized, according to Colin Christensen, one of the founding members of the revived society.
“The Hermesian Society represents students of great academic diversity and with that you get a great diversity in the exchange of ideas. . .and you begin to operationalize everything that the liberal arts stands for.”
Members of the Hermesian Society are excited to be a part of the organization because of its historic connections to the College, Christensen said. They also see the value of the Society as it is expressed by its historic motto, “The Wealth of the Mind is the Only True Wealth.”
The phrase underscores the importance of what comes from “earning” wealth, Christensen said. During literary society debates, “whether you win or lose, you’re really earning this wealth of knowledge by participating in these discussions.”
The Hermesian Literary Society was first organized in 1841 by a group of students who had previously been members of the Calliopean Literary Society, which began a year earlier. The societies engaged in debates, readings and declamations often competing against one another in these oratorical exercises.