Saturday seminars to address ‘Quality of Mercy’

Popular lecture series now in 31st year

Experts will address one of the most enduring concepts in social, religious, ethical and political thinking — the idea of mercy — during a Saturday Master of Liberal Arts (MLA) Seminar Series throughout February at Washington University in St. Louis. Topics range from mercy in sexuality debates to mercy in the practice of medicine.

Free and open to the public, the series is sponsored by University College, the adult, evening and continuing education division in Arts & Sciences.

Now in its 31st year, the popular MLA series annually addresses a common theme from a variety of backgrounds.

“The Quality of Mercy” will feature university experts in the areas of politics, medicine, religious studies and literature.

“The Master of Liberal Arts program examines major themes, concepts and issues from many different perspectives — and mercy is exactly the sort of subject that requires, and rewards, its multidisciplinary approach,” says Robert E. Wiltenburg, PhD, dean of University College.

The lectures begin Feb. 4 and are offered every Saturday in February. All talks are set for 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. in January Hall, Room 110, on the Danforth Campus.

Speakers are:

  • Feb. 4. Marie R. Griffith, PhD, the John C. Danforth Distinguished Professor in Arts & Sciences and director of the Danforth Center on Religion & Politics, “Is There Room for Mercy in the Sexuality Debates? Shifting the Terms of our Religious-Political Stalemate”;
  • Feb. 11. Ira Kodner, MD, the Solon & Bettie Gershman Professor of Surgery, “Physicians and Ethics”;
  • Feb. 18: Daniel Bornstein, PhD, the Stella K. Darrow Professor of Catholic Studies and director of the Religious Studies Program in Arts & Sciences, “The Works of Mercy”;
  • Feb. 25: Robert E. Wiltenburg, “Shakespeare: The Merciless and the Merciful.”

Lectures can be attended individually or in the entire series, but RSVPs are requested. To learn more and to RSVP, visit or call (314) 935-6700.

For a map of the Danforth Campus, visit

About University College

Originally founded in 1853 to serve the diverse educational needs of the St. Louis area, Washington University continues to grow and thrive more than 150 years later. The first educational step of the fledgling university, on Oct. 22, 1854, was to establish an evening program.

Washington University Extension, addressing the needs of local teachers, was begun in 1908, and, after much expansion and diversification, became University College in 1931. Then and since, people of all ages attend Washington University through University College, earning associate’s, bachelor’s and master’s degrees, or certificates, or taking courses for personal enrichment.

For more information about University College, visit or call (314) 935-6700.