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Sharp Viewpoint Series

Engaging Perspectives

Engaging Perspectives

Sharing Knowledge Inspires Dynamic Change.

The University of Richmond celebrates fostering important dialogues through the 2018–19 Sharp Viewpoint Speakers Series. President Ronald A. Crutcher welcomes prominent thought leaders to campus to discuss and debate critical issues in higher education.

As Spiders, we analyze and embrace differing viewpoints. We embrace the opportunity to further the conversation. We believe that, through critical discussion, new ideas take root, grow, and evolve.

Sept. 27, 2018 ▪ 7 p.m. ▪ Queally Center
We Need to Talk: Fostering Viewpoint Diversity in Higher Education
Jonathan Haidt
Social Psychologist, Researcher, and Author, The Coddling of the American Mind

Jonathan Haidt will discuss how rising political polarization and aversion to conflict are contributing to the reduction of viewpoint diversity on college campuses. Haidt is a social psychologist at the NYU-Stern School of Business. Haidt’s research examines the intuitive foundations of morality and how it varies across cultures and politics. His newest book, The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas are Setting Up a Generation for Failure, co-authored with Greg Lukianoff, was released in September.

Nov. 1, 2018 ▪ 7 p.m. ▪ Queally Center
The Empathy Gap and the Power of Dialogue
Beverly Daniel Tatum
President Emerita of Spelman College, Psychologist, Race Relations Expert, and Author, Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?

A residual effect of persistent segregation by race in the USA is the tendency to demonize the “other.” Beverly Daniel Tatum and President Crutcher will discuss how this so-called “empathy gap” affects cross-cultural relationships on college and university campuses. A nationally recognized authority on race and education and a licensed clinical psychologist, Tatum is president emerita of Spelman College and author of the critically acclaimed book, Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? And Other Conversations about Race (1997; revised edition 2017).

Feb. 12, 2019 ▪ 7 p.m. ▪ Queally Center
Freedom of Expression on Campus
Robert J. Zimmer
President of the University of Chicago, Mathematician, and Author, Essential Results of Functional Analysis

Robert J. Zimmer will discuss the debate over freedom of expression roiling college campuses nationwide. Zimmer has served as president of the University of Chicago since July 2006. A recent piece in The New York Times named him “America’s best university president” for his commitment to academic freedom and critical thinking. Before becoming the university’s president, he served as a faculty member and administrator for more than two decades, specializing in geometry. President Zimmer is the author of two mathematics books and more than 80 mathematical research articles.

Mar. 21, 2019 ▪ 7 p.m. ▪ Queally Center
Why the Humanities Matter Now, More Than Ever
Paula Krebs
Executive Director of the MLA, Former Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences, and Contributor, The Chronicle of Higher Education and Inside Higher Ed

Paula Krebs will speak about the role of the humanities in a 21st-century liberal arts education and the ongoing evolution of humanities education. Krebs became executive director of the Modern Language Association in August 2017. She administers the programs, governance, and business affairs of the association and is general editor of the association’s publishing and research programs, as well as editor of two association publications. Krebs previously served as the dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Bridgewater State University.


All events are free and open to the public. General admission ticket registration is required and opens three weeks prior to each event. Note that tickets will become void 5 minutes prior to each event. If you are unable to secure a ticket in advance, any available tickets will be distributed starting 30 minutes before the event. An allotment of seats in the main hall have remained available on a walk-up basis for all events to date. Seating in the main theatre is by general admission, come early to claim your seat.

To reserve your seat, please visit the links above or call the Modlin Center Box Office at 804–289–8980.

Event Reception and Information

EVENT FORMAT: All speaker events will feature a dynamic interview and conversational exchange with President Ronald A. Crutcher.

AUDIENCE OVERFLOW: In the case of reaching full audience capacity in the main theater, some guests may be directed to a live video simulcast nearby.

RECEPTIONS: Details for these receptions will be available at the event.

GETTING TO CAMPUS: The Queally Center is located at 142 UR Drive, University of Richmond, VA 23173. Parking is available directly across the street from the building.

For more information, please see driving instructions to campus and the campus map. (Note: Queally Center is #142 on the campus map).

About The Sharp Viewpoint Speaker Series

The Sharp Viewpoint Speakers Series is a program of the Office of the President. The series was established in 2011 in honor of Richard L. Sharp, a nationally recognized entrepreneur, to present competing views on topics crucial to our nation and global society.

Sharp was a recognized thought leader and an exemplar of personal and professional integrity who served as a mentor to aspiring business and community leaders. Among his many professional roles, he served as president, chief executive officer, and chairman of the board at Circuit City until 2002. Under his leadership, Circuit City developed into one of the nation’s Fortune 500 businesses. He also directed Circuit City’s venture into CarMax, which revolutionized the automotive retail industry, growing it into the nation’s largest retailer of previously owned cars. He retired as chairman of the board in June 2007. He also served as chairman of the board of Crocs, Inc. from 2005 to 2010.

He was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s Disease in late 2010 but continued to demonstrate his values of leading by example, until his death in 2014, by helping shape the landscape of Virginia through his personal philanthropy, and by inspiring and motivating others to give back to their community.

Join the Conversation

Share your own perspective of the speaker’s viewpoints by mentioning @URichmond on Twitter or by using the hashtag #URsharp.