Graham School tenth anniversary celebration: traditional gifts of tin and aluminum not required
The University of Chicago News Office
May 25, 2005

Graham School tenth anniversary celebration: traditional gifts of tin and aluminum not required

    Press Contacts:

Laura M. Dini

Allison Pay Crawford

On June 3, 2005, the University of Chicago’s Graham School of General Studies Master of Liberal Arts Program will celebrate the tenth anniversary of its first graduating class. Over the years, a select collection of enthusiastic participants have embarked on an exploratory journey of the liberal arts. This part-time evening and weekend program has given its students the ability to discover a greater understanding of the world around them.

According to Raymond Ciacci, the program director and founder, the MLA Program was created with the goal of accentuating the importance of a liberal education forged in Robert M. Hutchins’ (University of Chicago president, 1929-1945; chancellor, 1945-1951) era. According to Mr. Ciacci, students take core courses in the social sciences, the humanities, as well as in biology and astrophysics in order to “have a sense of the history and issues that surround important and fundamental questions of the 21st Century.” Not surprisingly, the MLA program has helped to enrich, shape, and inspire the lives of its students in ways that could not have even been predicted.

Many MLA alums tell success stories in their lives that are directly connected to their MLA education. “An MLA degree is invaluable for one’s ability to understand the broad implications of our global village,” claims Ann Cameron Williams, an MLA Graduate in 2000. “It empowered me to think, to challenge what is, and to attempt to change that which needs changing.” Upon completion of her MLA degree, Ms. Williams was recruited to become a project coordinator in the Department of Disability and Human Development at the University of Illinois Chicago, where she also continued her studies at the PhD level. She also has created a small consulting business that studies programmatic impact for nonprofit organizations.

Steve Laymon, Associate Dean for Graduate and Professional Programs at the Graham School values the MLA’s connection to everyday issues stating, “In The Education of Black People by W.E.B. Du Bois, the author explains, ‘A university is made of human beings, learning of the things they do not know from things they do know in their own lives.’ This is extremely applicable to the MLA program, whose part-time adult students study topics about which they are passionate, acquiring tools and theories to understand the wider implications of that which they already know.”

To celebrate its tenth year, the University of Chicago’s Graham School of General Studies is inviting all MLA alumni to attend a special reception on Friday, June 3, 2005. The event offers alums an exciting opportunity to see old friends and reconnect with the faculty and staff. The MLA reception will take place from 4:30 to 6:00 p.m. on the second floor in the West Lounge of Ida Noyes Hall located at 1212 East 59th Street. Further information and an opportunity to RSVP for alumni events can be found online at
Last modified at 03:46 PM CST on Wednesday, May 25, 2005.

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