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E. James Holland University Symposium on American Values

C.J. Davidson Center, Houston Harte University Center

Linguist and best-selling author Dr. John McWhorter will be the featured speaker for Angelo State University’s 2016 E. James Holland University Symposium on American Values Monday, Oct. 17, in the Houston Harte University Center, 1910 Rosemont Drive.

Dr. John McWhorterDr. John McWhorterMcWhorter’s presentation, “Changing Language: #AmericanValues,” will be covered in two sessions at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. in the University Center’s C.J. Davidson Conference Center. For the afternoon session, he will present “Words on the Move: Why English Won’t – and Can’t – Sit Still (Like, Literally).” The evening session will feature a public question-and-answer forum moderated by Dr. John Wegner, ASU professor of English and dean of the Freshman College. 

Informal receptions will be held following each session at 3:15 p.m. and 9 p.m. in the University Center Tower Lobby. Both the sessions and the receptions are open free to the public. 

Prior to his presentations on Oct. 17, McWhorter will be the guest of honor at a barbeque at 6 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 16, at the LeGrand Alumni and Visitors Center, 1620 University Ave. Advance reservations are required and can be made by calling Dr. Trey Smith at 325-486-5441.  

McWhorter will also visit several ASU classes and be the special guest at an invitation-only ASU Honor Society Luncheon on Oct. 17. 

An associate professor of English and comparative literature at Columbia University, McWhorter specializes in linguistics, looking at language change and language contact. He is the author of more than a dozen books, including: 

  • “The Power of Babel: A Natural History of Language”

  • “Word on the Street: Debunking the Myth of ‘Pure’ Standard English”

  • “Words on the Move: Why English Won’t – and Can’t – Sit Still (Like, Literally)”

  • “Doing Our Own Thing: The Degradation of Language and Music in America and Why We Should, Like, Care”

  • “Spreading the Word: Language and Dialect in America” 

A regular columnist for Time and CNN, McWhorter also writes for The Wall Street Journal’s “Taste” page and writes a column on language for The Atlantic magazine. He has been published in The New York Times, Washington Post, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Time and The New Yorker. He has appeared as a commentator on “Politically Incorrect,” “Talk of the Nation,” “Today,” “Good Morning America,” “The Jim Lehrer NewsHour,” “Up with Chris Hayes” and “Fresh Air.” 

A native of Philadelphia, McWhorter previously served as an associate professor of linguistics at the University of California, Berkeley, and taught at Cornell University. He was also a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute from 2002-10. He holds a Bachelor of Arts from Rutgers University, a Master of Arts from New York University and a doctorate in linguistics from Stanford University. 

The Holland Symposium was established in 1984 by then-College of Liberal and Fine Arts Dean E. James Holland. When Holland retired in 2003, the board of regents named the symposium in his honor. In its 32 years, the symposium has brought more than 70 nationally prominent figures to the ASU campus to spur thought and debate on issues relevant to American society. The ASU Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs sponsors the symposium.

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Randy Hall
Holland Symposium Committee
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