Friends of the Heyman Center

The Friends of the Heyman Center, under the direction of Gareth Williams, Violin Family Professor of Classics and Chair, Department of Classics, comprises people who help ensure the advancement and vitality of the Heyman Center for the Humanities. For more than twenty-five years, tuition and donations from the Friends colloquia have contributed to a variety of activities, most significantly, the Lionel Trilling Seminar, which is free and open to the public.

The Friends of the Heyman Center offers discussion courses led by Columbia's most renowned teachers and scholars to alumni and friends of the University who wish to continue organized education without the need for academic credit. These colloquia, titled the Carl Hovde Colloquia, are planned as active discussions rather than lectures, and the faculty leaders are among the best teachers in the University. No papers or examinations are required. We charge only a small fraction of normal tuition, and after expenses, these funds help both to improve our programs and maintain the building -- one of the most congenial on campus.

If you would like to donate to the Friends of the Heyman Center, you can do so here. Please enter “Friends of the Heyman Center” in the comment box so that your donation is properly credited.  Thank you!

Spring 2014 Colloquia

Philosophy as a Way of Life

Peter Pazzaglini
Thursdays, 5:30pm-7:30pm

This colloquium will be led by Professor Peter Pazzaglini, Senior Scholar at the Heyman Center for the Humanities. We shall examine philosophy as a lived experience not as an academic discipline or a set of metaphysical systems or abstract interpretations. The focus will be on what these authors urge us to do, not on what they say with a love of words. These texts represent competitive and complete ways of being, with self-questioning and self-examination, and in living contact with others. The aim of these philosophies as a way of life is to develop people as full human beings, not as esoteric specialists or academics.

Download Syllabus and Schedule

Virgil and Ovid

Gareth Williams
Tuesdays, 5:30pm-7:30pm

This colloquium will be led by Gareth Williams, the Violin Family Professor of Classics. The overriding objectives of the course will be to explore (i) the social, political and cultural context in which Virgil’s Aeneid and Ovid’s Metamorphoses were composed at Rome in the very late first century BCE; (ii) the ways in which these two seminal works of the surviving Latin literary tradition in thematic tension with each other, offering competing commentaries on the regime of the emperor Augustus; and (iii) the enduring value and relevance that both works have as texts that touch on so many issues of twenty-first century socio-cultural and political experience. We shall revisit the Metamorphoses in the 2004 Penguin translation of David Raeburn, with an excellent introduction by Dennis Feeney of Princeton University; and for the Aeneid, we shall use Allen Mandelbaum’s elegant verse translation (Bantam, 1961 and often reprinted thereafter). Further suggestions for secondary reading are available upon request.

Download Syllabus and Schedule

General Carl Hovde Colloquia Information

We offer two courses each term, typically one dealing with East/West topics, and another about some aspect of Western thought. Classes meet from 5:30-7:30 every other week for six sessions. This fall and spring the charge is $500 for one course and $800 for both - and at this higher level, spouses are welcome without further charge. You would pay far more for courses carrying academic credit, and at the Heyman Center, you will be studying with Columbia's finest teachers.

Books for both courses can be purchased at Book Culture (formerly Labyrinth Books), located on 112th St. between Broadway and Amsterdam Ave, and can be reached by phone at 212-865-1588. These courses are not listed in the regular University Bulletin; if there is confusion, ask for the text-book department.


Additional support beyond our fees is very much appreciated and brings notices of the Lunchtime Lecture Series at the Heyman Center. All support beyond the course charge is fully tax-deductible. A gift of $25 or more also brings a subscription to the Columbia University Record. Acceptance is on a first come, first served basis, and you will be notified of your registration status upon the Heyman Center's receipt of your registration form with payment.

To register for one or both of this semester's colloquia, download, complete, and return the

Registration Form (pdf)

Please contact Conley Lowrance at 212-854-1277 with any questions. Classes are held in the Second Floor Common Room at the Heyman Center.