Campus News

Willson Center to kick off 30th anniversary celebration Sept. 6

The Willson Center for Humanities and Arts celebrates its 30th anniversary at the University of Georgia this academic year, beginning with a public reception and a panel discussion on “The Humanities and Arts Today.”

The panel will include leaders of several prominent national and regional humanities and arts organizations.

The reception, which is free and open to the public, will be held Sept. 6 at 6 p.m. in the Willson Center, 1260 S. Lumpkin St. Light hors d’oeuvres and beverages will be provided. Parking will be available at the Office of International Education, 1324 S. Lumpkin St., and in other nearby UGA lots. If you plan to attend, RSVP to Winnie Smith at or at 706-542-4304.

The discussion, moderated by Nicholas Allen, Franklin Professor of English and director of the Willson Center, will be held Sept. 7 at 10 a.m. in the auditorium of the Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries. The panelists are Laurie Baefsky, executive director of the Alliance for the Arts in Research Universities (a2ru); Stephen Kidd, executive director of the National Humanities Alliance; Sara Guyer, president of the Consortium of Humanities Centers and Institutes; John McGowan, past director of the Institute for the Arts and Humanities at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill; Jamil Zainaldin, president of Georgia Humanities; and Robert Newman, president and director of the National Humanities Center.

“These thinkers are at the leading edge of research and innovation worldwide, and their enthusiasm to join us for the launch of the Willson Center’s 30th anniversary shows how highly our humanities and arts programs are regarded globally,” Allen said. “History, music, literature, dance, philosophy, art—all are critical to our university, our society and our economy.

“This conversation will highlight the many contemporary possibilities for thinking with innovation and acting with compassion,” he also said. “There is no future without the imagination, and no better opportunity to engage collectively than through the humanities and arts.”

The Willson Center for Humanities and Arts was founded as the Humanities Center in 1987 and subsequently named the Center for Humanities and Arts in 1997. In 2005, it was renamed the Jane and Harry Willson Center for Humanities and Arts after the gift of an endowment by the Willsons of Albany, longtime benefactors of the humanities and arts at the university.

The center’s mission is to promote research and creativity in the humanities and arts. It supports faculty through research grants, lectures, symposia, publications, visiting scholars, visiting artists, collaborative instruction, public conferences, exhibitions and performances. It is committed to academic excellence and public impact.

To learn more about upcoming Willson Center events and programs, visit