The After Dinner Scholar

Senior Orations, Rhetoric, and the Pursuit of Truth with Dr. Virginia Arbery

February 25, 2020

“Wisdom without eloquence is of little advantage,” said the great Roman orator Marcus Tullius Cicero, “but eloquence without wisdom is most mischievous.”

Last week was a big week here at Wyoming Catholic College. Classes were canceled on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday to make room for three days of senior orations.

Each of our seniors writes a thesis during the fall semester and then in late February delivers a half-hour lecture on their thesis topic followed by a half-hour of questions—first from the faculty panel that will be grading the oration and then from the audience.

The school community—students, faculty, and staff—make up the audience that also includes family and alumni who make the trip back to Lander to hear our seniors present their ideas with wonderful rhetorical skill.

“How do they come by that skill?” you ask. Part of our integrated curriculum is the sequence of courses called the Trivium: grammar, logic, and rhetoric. Dr. Virginia Arbery teaches Trivium 202: Political Rhetoric and the Common Good. Dr. Arbery is our guest on this edition of The After Dinner Scholar.