April 14, 2008
(From left to right) Former Hamilton Holt School Dean and Director of the MLS Program Bob Smither, The New York Times Columnist Frank Rich, Rollins President Lewis Duncan, Rollins Vice President for Academic Affairs & Provost Roger Casey and Hamilton Holt School Dean Sharon Carrier
On Saturday, April 12, Rollins welcomed The New York Times journalist and best-selling author Frank Rich. About 500 people attended the talk on “Art, Culture, and Politics,” which was free and open to the public.
Rich’s popular weekly column crosses politics with popular culture. During his introduction of Frank Rich, Vice President for Academic Affairs & Provost Roger Casey said, “We now know officially what many of us in theater knew from Frank’s start. He is not just a theater critic. He is the American newspaper’s equivalent of Roland Barthes, a cultural critic, a critical media analyst who sees the dynamic issues of our time often played out dramatically in our popular culture.”
Rich’s visit was the highlight of the 20th anniversary celebration of Rollins College Hamilton Holt School’s Master of Liberal Studies (MLS) program. Winter Park Mayor David Strong proclaimed April 12 “Rollins College Master of Liberal Studies Day” in the City of Winter Park.
Hamilton Holt School Dean Sharon Carrier presents a proclamation to Former Hamilton Holt School Dean and Director of the MLS Program Bob Smither. Winter Park Mayor David Strong proclaimed April 12 “Rollins College Master of Liberal Studies Day” in the City of Winter Park.
“I am delighted to be here at Rollins and be part of the anniversary celebration of the College’s MLS program,” said Rich. “This is the type of education I believe in and was lucky enough to have. Thank you for having me.” Rich graduated from Harvard in 1971.
Rich’s wide ranging talk covered topics such as the O.J. Simpson trial, the problems President Bill Clinton encountered while in office, CBS’s declining ratings, the impact of September 11 and the upcoming presidential election. “Today, it’s hard to know where entertainment ends and information begins,” said Rich. “We live in a culture where you can make up virtually any story and get away with it.” He emphasized the importance of reporters sharing the facts in news stories.
Rich signed books following the event. His latest book is The Greatest Story Ever Sold: The Decline and Fall of Truth from 9/11 to Katrina. He came to Rollins as a Thomas P. Johnson Distinguished Visiting Scholar.
Rollins is one of a select group of institutions that offers a graduate degree in liberal studies. As President Lewis Duncan noted in his remarks for the program's anniversary, other institutions that have an MLS program include Johns Hopkins, Georgetown, Dartmouth and Duke. The interdisciplinary MLS program, introduced at Rollins in 1987, offers courses from multiple branches of learning, including philosophy, literature, history, and social science. The program has more than 200 alumni. “For two decades now, the MLS program has provided personal enrichment and professional enhancement for members of the Central Florida community who want to expand their intellectual horizons at the graduate level,” said Professor of Psychology Robert Smither, who directs the Rollins MLS program.