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Charlotte Amalie
Saturday, July 13, 2024


April 1, 2002 – A weeklong "Humanities Festival" gets under way Monday on the St. Thomas campus of the University of the Virgin Islands. All events are free and open to the public.
The first day of the festival, presented by UVI's Humanities Division, featires a lecture by Gilbert Sprauve, professor of modern languages, who is not only an expert in linguistics and foreign languages but also a local culture bearer, especially as regards St. John, his home island. The final day includes soprano/piano recital. In between are a daily smorgasbord of events covering in a variety of approaches the humanities topics of debate, theater, poetry, journalism, literature, foreign languages and music.
Building on the first Humanities Festival, held in 2000, "The festival celebrates the art of communication," Lorna Young-Wright, division chair on the St. Thomas campus, said in a UVI release. Representatives of the division's various academic areas — speech communication and theater, music, journalism, English, modern languages and linguistics — began organizing the festival last October.
The festival theme, "Celebrating 40 Years of Artistic Expression in the Humanities," is a part of the wider celebration of UVI's 40th anniversary.
The festival opens at noon Monday with the Humanities Division hosting an opening ceremony honoring retiring UVI President Orville Kean. The final event is a modern languages society induction ceremony Sunday evening in the campus cafeteria.
The lecture by Sprauve, who is on pre-retirement sabbatical for the semester, is titled, "How About 'Right as Defined by Need' as Opposed to 'Might Makes Right'?" Sprauve says his "basic argument is that in our society socialization and acculturation within the family generally instill an ethic that clashes in very essential ways with that imposed institutionally, pedagogically and otherwise by the dictates of free enterprise efficiency and profitability."
He argues that academia "while usurping the language of reason has abrogated its traditional role as beacon of humanistic didacticism and foment." And, he adds, "The present condition has much to do with shortcomings in the public policy process in our islands."
The schedule of events:
Monday noon — opening ceremony, Chase Auditorium.
Monday 2 p.m. — lecture by Prof. Gilbert Sprauve, Chase Auditorium.
Tuesday 2 p.m. — lecture on "Humanities and Sustainable Development," Chase Auditorium (speaker not announced).
Tuesday 7 p.m. — debate, cafeteria (details not announced).
Wednesday 4 p.m. — a "Celebration of 40 Years of Theatre Productions," Little Theater. This symposium/panel discussion, presented by speech and theater area faculty Rosary Harper, Dennis Parker and Michael Prenevost, will be a look at UVI theatrical productions from 1963 to the present. Parker said it's hoped that many individuals who have acted and worked backstage over the years will be on hand — including UVI Vice President Malcolm Kirwan, music faculty member Austin Venzen, Reichhold Center director David Edgecombe and community members Irose Payne, Hans Eisler, Wanda and Charmaine Dipnarine and Lee Vanterpool.
Wednesday 7 p.m. — poetry reading, off campus at Bethania Hall, next door to Frederick Evangelical Lutheran Church.
Thursday 2 p.m. — lecture by Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Melvin Claxton, Chase Auditorium. Claxton, a member of the St. Thomas Source editorial advisory board, is a former UVI student who earned his Pulitzer while working at the V.I. Daily News; he currently is a senior investigative reporter for The Detroit News.
Friday 9 a.m. — a "literary conference" (location and details not announced).
Friday 5 p.m. — journalism forum on the First Amendment, Teacher Education Building, Room T101. Participants are attorneys Adriane Dudley and Frederick Watts and TV2 producer and news director Haven Daley.
Friday 7 p.m. — poetry slam, Music Education Building.
Saturday 9 a.m. — "Celebrating Creative Expressions at Sea," MacLean Marine Science Center dock (details not announced).
Saturday 4 p.m. — "Humanities Celebration on the Green," Herman E. Moore Golf Course on campus. There will be music by the UVI Jazz Band, Concert Choir and Concert Band; a visual art display; games and food.
Sunday 4 p.m. — recital by JoAnne Stephenson, soprano, and Lorna Young-Wright, pianist, off campus at Frederick Evangelical Lutheran Church. Stephenson is a member of the voice faculty at the University of Central Florida; Young-Wright is on the UVI music faculty.
Sunday 6 p.m. — induction ceremony and celebration by the UVI chapter of the Alph Mu Gamma National Collegiate Foreign Language Association, cafeteria.
The schedule will be updated as more specific information becomes available.

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