Harrison Middleton University

Being There

Being There

We’re excited that you’ve joined the conversation! At HMU, we want to continue the great authors’ conversations in a contemporary context, and this blog will help us do that. We look back to Aristotle and the early philosophers who used reason and discourse to gain wisdom and now we endeavor to do the same every day.


March 22, 2024

Thanks to HMU alumnus, Ellin Iselin, for today’s post.

These two powerful words in “I Have Been a Stranger in a Strange Land” by poet Rita Dove resonate as a major theme in the Community Weekend at Harrision Middleton University March, 1-3, 2024. Although I had participated in a Community Weekend and several HMU Humanities Advisory Council meetings virtually, Being There physically was well worth the cross-country flight.

On lucky Leap Day, February 29, 2024, I boarded an airplane from Jacksonville, Florida and arrived two time zones earlier in Phoenix. Accommodations were at The Westin Tempe near the entrance to Arizona State University. My eleventh floor perspective provided a fantastic view of sundown over the mountains. Being There…at the right time to catch sunset.

The morning of March 1, the Humanities Advisory Council convened with administrators at the University. Voices and faces familiar to me via phone calls and Zoom came to life as we worked to further the mission of HMU. After a midday break, the Advisory Council members met with students, alumni and faculty for an evening reception full of conversation and fellowship. The conversation continued Saturday with HMU President Joseph Coulson artfully inviting us to experience “Music, Poetry, and Ways of Being.” HMU tutors Gary Schoepfel and Alissa Simon then led breakout sessions in which we pondered poetry and the short story “Sonny’s Blues” by James Baldwin. Friendly faces soon turned into caring communicators as we listened to one another and brought new ideas to the table.

Due to my flight home, I was not able to take advantage of the Sunday offerings. I look forward to those activities — and more — in the future.

My Community Weekend at Harrison Middleton University was life-enriching, and I improved as a person due to the quality connections of Being There. As an example, Tuesday evening upon my return home, I was challenged in a verbal exchange and in turn was able to state my arguments clearly. I am quite confident this was on account of the discussions at HMU. I encourage you to attend a Community Weekend at Harrison Middleton University; I think you will be glad you did. In the meantime, check out the outstanding events offered by HMU.

Photo courtesy of Ellin Iselin.

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