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Holden Thorp
Holden Thorp

Holden Thorp, provost at Washington University in St. Louis, will discuss the state of the humanities in American higher education at a free talk Nov. 3 at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Thorp, who became the Washington University provost July 1, will deliver the 2013 E. Maynard Adams Lecture in the Humanities and Human Values at 4 p.m. in the UNC School of Social Work auditorium. He is the former chancellor and Kenan Professor of Chemistry at UNC.

His talk, “From Salesman to Hamletmachine: The Need for the Humanities,” will examine the arguments and strategies being used to garner support for teaching and research in the humanities in the current fiscal and political context.

Thorp will consider:

  • Is there a crisis in the humanities?
  • Should the same arguments used for STEM education in the National Academies report, “Rising Above the Gathering Storm,” be used to mobilize support for the humanities?
  • Can we find a way to talk about the humanities to our external stakeholders that also resonates internally?

Thorp is the co-author with University Entrepreneur-in-Residence Buck Goldstein ofEngines of Innovation” (UNC Press).  He also is a co-founder of Viamet Pharmaceuticals, which is commercializing new drugs for prostate cancer and anti-fungal indications.

A dinner honoring Thorp will be held at the Carolina Inn at 6 p.m. For more information about cost and to register, visit, or contact (919) 962-1544,

The Adams Lecture honors the late E. M. Adams, who was Kenan Professor of Philosophy at UNC. Adams played a pivotal role in the creation of the Program in the Humanities in the College of Arts and Sciences.

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