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 2016 Colloquia

Renaissance Music: From Polyphony to Opera

Giuseppe Gerbino
Tuesdays, 5:30pm-7:30pm

With the rise of humanism and the recovery of ancient texts, music became the object of a new reflection on the nature of human communication. The Renaissance in large part redefined the relationship between music and language as an ideal synthesis of reason and emotion. This course explores the musical legacy of the Italian Renaissance by retracing the history of the encounter of music and humanism through the works of Josquin Desprez, Cirpiano de Rore, Palestrina, Luca Marenzio, and Claudio Monteverdi.

Download Syllabus and Schedule

Topics in the European Renaissance: Politics, Philosophy, Culture and Society

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 and Special Lecturer in the Columbia College Core.  It will examine topics in the European Renissance as presented by authors including Burckhardt, Machiavelli, Galileo, and Descartes.

Download Syllabus and Schedule

General 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 Thursday 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 Iliana Ortega at 212-854-4631 with any questions.

Unless otherwise posted, classes are held in the Second Floor Common Room at the Heyman Center.