John Kuykendall, Robert Knott, and Charlie Reed

Event Details

Title: Back to the Future: the Radical Liberal Arts College: An informal discussion with three distinguished educators
Date: Feb 18, 2012 
Time: 2pm

Three educators, with decades of experience in higher education, have been meeting regularly over the past few years (often at Wofford) to have conversations about the present state of affairs for liberal arts colleges, and to consider alternative futures for schools like ours. They have talked a great deal about the origins of liberal education, both in the long span of Western civilization in general and in the American pattern of higher education in particular. In summarizing some of their conclusions, they have settled upon the word “radical,” as it originally derives from the Latin word which means “root” (as in “radish”). Knott, Kuykendall and Reed propose that one possible source of viability for liberal education in the future is a concerted effort to go back to its roots. In its radical setting over history, liberal learning has been intended to encourage lives of personal virtue and responsible citizenship.  

That morning, Kuykendall, Knott, and Reed will address the Wofford trustees during a morning session of the Board meeting on campus.

Location: RMSC 121


A native of Charlotte, John Kuykendall is President Emeritus and Thatcher Professor of Religion Emeritus at Davidson College. Before coming to Davidson as President in 1984, he was on the faculty of Auburn University. He holds degrees from Davidson, Union Theological Seminary (Va.), Yale Divinity School and Princeton University. In 1999, Wofford awarded him the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters. He and his wife, Missy, have two sons and live in Davidson.
Robert Knott is a native of Winston-Salem, NC. He holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from Wake Forest University and the State University of New York at Buffalo in the fields of math, philosophy and religion. He served as president of Tusculum College and as provost and later president of Catawba College. He continues to teach in the areas of world religions, ethics, and the philosophy of science and religion. He resides in Brevard, NC with his wife Brenda. They have a classically educated daughter who who operates her own art studio and a son who founded his own martial arts school in Japan.
 At Queens University of Charlotte since 1991, Charlie Reed attended McCallie School, Davidson College, the University of Chicago, and the University of Virginia. He holds a doctorate in History from Oxford, published a book with Cambridge University Press in 2003, and was a Harvard Junior Fellow in 1982-83. His specialty is the history of business; his book on ancient Greek business activity remains the standard work in the field. Recently he has focused instead on the history of the liberal arts and is co-writing a book thereon with Robert Knott and John Kuykendall. In 1989 his professional association gave him its national award for Excellence in the Teaching of Classics; and in 2000 the Carnegie Foundation named him North Carolina Professor of the Year. He retired from Queens in the spring of 2012.