People walked up the JFSB spiral staircase to hear the sound of a wooden flute. The room was crowded with people as Roger Chu, accompanied by a pianist, played a melody from memory to start off the event. He finished on a high soprano note and took his bow.
J Scott Miler, dean of humanities, followed his exit and explained the reason for the occasion: The 50 year celebration of the college of Humanities.
The event was the opening of an exhibit that illustrates the history of humanities. The college had been combined with social sciences and was housed in thirteen different buildings on campus before 1965.
Miller focused on just one part of the humanities department.
“An essential part of what we do can be summed up in one word: Conversation,” Miller said.
He said a reason for this exhibit is to display the part that education plays in the Church. Miller explained that “conversation” shares latin roots with the word “conversion.”
“Both suggest a term as a new way of seeing and interacting with the world,” Miller said.
Miller also said in humanities they teach about other cultures of people and how to see them as human beings and children of God rather than stereotypes.
He explained students also learn how to read other languages and unfamiliar scripts and texts and said this prepares their students for the rapidly globalizing world. He then mentioned it is a broad education that applies to a multitude of context and throughout a life-time.
After his remarks, a chorus of BYU students sang a piece titled, “Joined in the New Conversation” directed by German professor Christian Clement.
Miller suggested in his message that a lot of what Humanities studies is a discovery of what makes us human.