By ADD SEYMOUR JR.
As U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder walked to the Leadership Center building last semester, he was followed by a large group of students, asking him questions that stuck with Roy Craft, director of the Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel.
“Their questions were, ‘How did you get to where you are,’ which deals with vocation,” Craft said. “The other question was, ‘How did you deal with this particularly tough situation,’ which really gets at the heart of ethics. So what they’re talking about is how ethics, spirituality and leadership are intertwined.”
These questions helped formed the foundation for a new pilot program designed specifically for seniors, the Senior Crown Forum. The initial idea came from the College’s reaccreditation process and quality enhancement program, which focuses on internationalization.
Twice each semester, seniors will be required to attend the forum in Sale Hall’s Chapel of the Inward Journey specifically designed for them.
The one-hour sessions will give them a chance during their final year to gather everything they’ve learned about ethical and globally citizenship and ready themselves to apply it to their post-collegiate lives.
“What we have hit upon is to use the Senior Crown Forum as a way to kind of take a lot of the learning that they’ve had over a four-year period and really embody it in an underlying ethical structure,” he said. “That is using the framework that Dean Lawrence E. Carter Sr. developed by studying the non-violent philosophy of Martin Luther King Jr. ’48, Mohandas Gandhi and Daisaku Ikeda and other leaders of global non-violence, looking deeply and getting students to look deeply into each of these influences.”
The sessions will be led by experts, both inside and outside of the College community, who will take an ethical principle and relate it to their profession and experiences.
But the sessions will not be one-sided lectures. Students will be able to discuss before each session the topic that will be highlighted via email or some other online vehicle.
“What we’re trying to do in the Senior Crown Forum – and also in other programs that the Chapel is having an effect on – is to create a dialogue,” Craft said. “It can’t just be passive learning. What we want is not just cognitive learning. We want them to learn intellectually but also critically reflect on what it means to their lives and how they will be changed by it.”
The first Senior Crown Forum, which will be an introductory session, will be led by President Robert M. Franklin Jr. ’75 on Sept. 22. The other sessions are scheduled for Nov. 17, Feb. 9 and March 16.