Community Organizer Connects with Liberal Education

Robert T. Gannett Jr., Executive Director at the Institute for Community Empowerment, will speak on “Between Two Worlds: The Fragile Balance of a Chicago Community Organizer.” The talk on community organizing and its connection to a liberal education will be March 26 at 4:30 p.m. in Musser Auditorium, Pfahler Hall.

Gannett has worked for expanding mental health services, building affordable housing and enacting public school reform. He holds a B.A. in English from Harvard, and a Ph.D. by the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago. He also has studied the kinds of questions and texts Ursinus students and faculty study in the Common Intellectual Experience (CIE) course, and beyond, first as an undergraduate in English at Harvard University, then, after 20 years off from higher education, as a graduate student in the University of Chicago’s interdisciplinary Committee on Social Thought.

Gannett will discuss two “fragile balances,” one between working as an outsider and as an insider in community organizing, the other between his study of literature, history, and philosophy and his service in Chicago’s communities. Through these reflections on his own experience, Gannett will address the dilemma of how to reconcile one’s desire for freedom with responsibility to one’s community, a topic in CIE. The event is sponsored by the Bonner Leaders, Politics Department, Common Intellectual Experience and Arts and Lecture Series.