A selection of items from the exhibit celebrating 50 years of the Humanities program at Milligan College

From its beginnings as part of a general education requirements review to the present, Humanities has been an integral part of students’ time at Milligan for fifty years. Over the years, the course structure has changed, faculty have come and gone, and new components such as the European study tour have been added. However, this enduring program still remains true to its roots through studying art, history, philosophy, and literature to answer the question – what does it mean to be human?


1965: A restudy of the general education requirements begins

1966: A select group of students test the program

1967: Ira Read begins at Milligan to head up the program

1968: Milligan faculty approve the program in January

1968: The Humanities Program begins with faculty-led class sections three times a week, lectures with all sections together, and a writing component for a four-semester course sequence for freshmen and sophomores

One component of the Humanities program is the weekly lecture, in which all sections come together to hear lectures by various professors on relevant topics. The weekly lecture was first held in lower Seeger until the Science Building was completed in the 1970s and lectures moved to the new Hyder Auditorium. For several decades, Humanities students came together in this auditorium until the Gregory Center was opened in 2008 and the McGlothlin-Street Theatre was utilized for the lectures.

1971: Experimental sophomore student planning semester

1971 Summer: First European Humanities Tour

Since Henry Webb began the tour in 1971, Humanities students have had the option of going on a tour of Europe to see in-person what they have been studying. For many years, the tour was a small professor-led group that traveled around in a van and camped, with two groups travelling per summer. In 1994, the tour shifted to a professional company leading the tour along with professors and the much-larger tour group staying in hotels. In 2014, Michael Blouin and Lee Blackburn began the Humanities USA Tour, allowing Humanities students the opportunity to learn and travel in the United States.

1994: Tour switches from camping to tour company-led

2008: The writing portion of the Humanities program is removed to become its own course sequence, the two-semester Composition sequence

2014 Summer: First Humanities USA Study Tour, led by Michael Blouin, Lee Blackburn, and Heather Hoover

2018: Inaugural Master of Arts in Humanities class

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