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College and Community: The Forum Series at UW Eau Claire to 1980

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King, Brian T.
Oberly, James Warren, 1954-
Apr 23, 2012
Chautauquas--History; Public speaking--Wisconsin--Eau Claire; Forum series (University of Wisconsin--Eau Claire); University of Wisconsin--Eau Claire--History
The Forum Series at UW-Eau Claire is one of, if not the longest running series like it in the country. It has had famous names such as Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., Henry Kissinger, Jane Goodall, Maya Angelou, Richard Nixon, and Ralph Nader speak to its audiences. It has become a tradition in Eau Claire, tracing its history back 70 years. It has added a unique cultural element to the community and University by bringing in ideas and speakers from a national and global level. In my paper, I will first look at what I feel is the predecessor to the Forum series; the national movement known as Chautauqua. Through looking at this, I hope to gain a better appreciation for the thinking that eventually created the Forum in Eau Claire. Although the Forum was not a direct by product of Chautauqua, it was a predecessor in spirit. Then I will examine both how and why the Forum was started. Next I will go into detail about some of the Forums' challenges and successes. (I will only examine the Forums' history up until 1980 as that's about as far as I am in my research.) I will argue that the successes of both the Forum and the Chautauqua movement resulted in their ability to change over time to reflect what went on in the culture and major national and global issues.
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