MLA Saturday Lecture Series to explore happiness

Happiness will be the focus of Washington University in St. Louis’ Master of Liberal Arts (MLA) Saturday Lecture Series that runs throughout February.

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

Now in its 33rd year, the popular MLA series annually addresses a common theme from a variety of backgrounds. This year, the series continues the consideration of values, turning attention to happiness, drawing upon different academic disciplines to define and explore this important concept and aim.

The lecture series features WUSTL faculty experts in the areas of psychology, political science, social work and Chinese language and literature.

The lectures begin Feb. 1 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.

Faculty speakers and their topics are:

  • Feb. 1: Randy Larsen, PhD, professor of psychology, the William R. Stuckenberg Professor of Human Values and Moral Development and chair of the Department of Psychology in Arts & Sciences, “The Psychology of Happiness”;
  • Feb. 8: Ian R. MacMullen, PhD, assistant professor of political science in Arts & Sciences, “Of Sodas and Seatbelts: Government Paternalism and the Pursuit of Happiness”;
  • Feb. 15: Nancy Morrow-Howell, PhD, the Ralph and Muriel Pumphrey Professor of Social Work and director of the Harvey A. Friedman Center for Aging, “Happiness and Aging”; and
  • Feb. 22: Robert E. Hegel, PhD, the Liselotte Dieckmann Professor of Comparative Literature and professor of Chinese language and literature in Arts & Sciences, “The Pursuit of Happiness in China Before the Onslaught of the West.”

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

About University College

Originally founded in 1853 to serve the diverse educational needs of the St. Louis area, Washington University in St. Louis 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 WUSTL through University College, earning associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s and the new doctor of liberal arts degrees, or certificates, or taking courses for personal enrichment.

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