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HAPPINESS Colloquium Series Continues in the Spring Semester
01.03.13 |

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A number of experts and celebrities such as Pennsylvania Governor and LVC alumnus Tom Corbett ’71 were on campus this fall as part of the HAPPINESS Colloquium Series, presenting various thoughts, musings, and research on personal happiness. The series includes guest speakers, films, and courses that consider meaning and importance of happiness as a psychological, physiological, social, and cultural phenomenon.

Programming for the series resumes January 24, as an expert on the philosophy of happiness and moral values will discuss the idea of happiness from its ancient roots to the current day. Christine Vitrano, assistant professor of philosophy at Brooklyn College, will present “A Conversation about Happiness” in a conversational interview with Dr. Bob Valgenti, LVC associate professor of philosophy. The conversation will pay special attention to the ethical dilemmas that arise when competing notions of happiness come into conflict.

Harvard Business School professor Michael I. Norton will attempt to answer the question “Can money make you happy?” in a Feb. 5 presentation. Norton’s research suggests it can – if you give it away. He will discuss how his research findings change the way organizations should think about incentivizing employees—and how we should think about spending our own money.

Later that month, Eric G. Wilson, professor of English at Wake Forest University, will argue “Against Happiness” – that melancholia is necessary to any thriving culture; that it is the muse of great literature, painting, music, and innovation; and that it is the force underlying original insights. What most people take for contentment, Wilson suggests, is living death, and what the majority takes for depression is a vital force.

Earlier this year, the United Nations designated March 20th as World Happiness Day. The Colloquium takes that notion one step further and will celebrate “A Week of Happiness” March 13-20. A number of student groups will celebrate a week of happiness through various activities and presentations, including an LVC Dance Team showcase. The events are intended to raise awareness of the role that ideas and experiences of happiness play in our lives.

In addition to other expert speakers and presentations, the Colloquium series will show six films at the Allen Theatre that tie into the HAPPINESS theme, including “Pursuit of Happyness,” “Happy,” “You Can’t Take It with You,” and “Proceed and Be Bold,” among others.

For the full schedule of spring HAPPINESS Colloquium Series programming, visit

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