JACKSON, Tenn. – April 8, 2002 – The Lyceum, a grove in the suburbs of Athens, was a center of learning forever remembered as the place where Aristotle taught philosophy. Here on Union University’s campus, Lyceum is a standing committee dedicated to the promotion of the arts. Existing since 1908, it serves the Union campus as well as the Jackson community by sponsoring programs in the areas of music, literature, drama, and the visual arts. One purpose of the program is to expose students to fine arts and cultural events that they might not otherwise be privy to.
“College is a lot more than what happens between the four walls of the classroom,” explained Dr. Gavin Richardson, department chair and associate professor of English education. “It is vital for students to be involved in cultural opportunities.”
Each year the program alternates between an emphasis on music and English, and theatre and art. In doing this, the organization is able to bring in artists and musicians that some major colleges don’t have the opportunity to host, or would compete to have them visit their campus. One example would be the visit of Pulitzer Prize winner Charles Wright who spoke at Union four years ago, just one day after receiving the award for his book, Black Zodiac. Other events have included the performances of the Merling Trio and Trio Ariana this fall semester in the music department and a poetry reading by Dave Smith, editor of Southern Review and two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist. A lecture recital on Charles Ives will be held at the end of April and will feature Dr. Bradley Robinson and accompanist Stacy Rodgers from the University of Mississippi.
A special opportunity offered annually by the Lyceum Committee is the provision of 40 tickets to each of the four classical Jackson symphony performances. These tickets, which are offered at Union Station on a first come, first serve basis, are often promoted in such classes as Arts in Western Civilization and Music Appreciation, but are not limited to these students alone.
Dr. Charles Baldwin, Edward P. Hammonds Professor of Pre-Medical Studies and a Symphony board member, likes to encourage his male students to take advantage of the symphony tickets as a more cultural alternative to the typical dinner and a movie date. While some students are at first skeptical of spending the evening at the symphony, once exposed they often return and the tickets usually have all been claimed by performance night.
For more information on the Lyceum Committee, its procedures, and upcoming events, visit the Lyceum web page.
By Alaina Kraus, Class of 2005
Sara B. Horn,