Arts And Ideas Festival To Feature Polymath Professors From USAO


Layne Thrift and Rhenada Finch discuss the Polymath exhibit with Kelsea Mallette

Teresa Foster

Ever wonder what secret life your favorite professor is living right under your nose?  The Arts and Ideas Festival feature, “Polymath,” may hold a clue.  At the very least, the festival creates an appreciation of what it takes to be a polymath.

“One way I like to think of it is as entertaining education” said Rhenada Finch, music department staff accompanist and Arts and Ideas Festival coordinator.

Finch said, “Polymath” will showcase alternate talents of the presenters and provide a glimpse of the limitless ability we humans have for personal development.  Finch described it as “a festival celebrating the people, ideas and movements that crossed disciplines and changed the world.”

According to Webster: a polymath, also known as a Renaissance man or Homo universalis, “is a person of great and diversified learning” with an emphasis on diversification into fields such as art, literature, science, medicine, engineering, math and music.

Turns out that several USAO faculty might fit in the polymath group along with da Vinci, Galileo and Copernicus.  Each evening of the festival will consist of four 15-minute discussions of varied academic focus.  In addition, according to Assistant Professor of Art and Nesbitt Gallery Director Layne Thrift, an art show of original works by non-art faculty will be available for viewing in the ballroom foyer as soon as three days before the event.

Featured speakers include: Dr. Weber, Dr. Garneau, Dr. Vaughn, Dr. Jan Hanson, Dr. Jeannette Loutsch, Dr. Jeanne Mather, Dr. John Paul Cook, Kaitlyn Worner, and Rob Vollmar.  “Polymath” will be presented Feb. 17 and 18 at 7:30 p.m. in the USAO Ballroom. The festival is free of charge and open to the general public.