Values, Ideas and the Arts (VIA) 

Values, Ideas and the Arts presentations enhance the Manchester Core program in the liberal arts through cultural exposure, artistic experience and intellectual enrichment. VIA features speakers, musicians and dramatic performers from the University community, across the country and around the globe. Manchester students earn academic credit through participation. 

The goals of the VIA program are to:

  • broaden students' cultural experiences,
  • enrich students intellectually and aesthetically,
  • provide opportunities to experience the arts,
  • promote dialogue about ideas and values, and
  • embody in its programs the values expressed in the University Mission.

Events last about an hour unless noted otherwise. Members of the University community and the public are also invited to attend all VIA events. Admission is free unless otherwise noted.

Fall 2023

The Values, Ideas and the Arts (VIA) Committee invites you to take part in presentations this fall. A few VIAs might be added after we begin the semester, so please check back for updates.
Some listings may be incomplete. Please excuse this work in progress.

Image of President Stacy YoungOpening Convocation
11 a.m. Monday, Aug. 28, Cordier Auditorium
Manchester University President Stacy Horner '96 Young welcomes students to the 2023-24 academic year. The longtime Opening Convocation tradition features faculty in full regalia and the president’s welcoming address. The public is welcome.
Event coordinator: Julie Knuth
How Did I Get Here? Where Do You Want To Go? 
Luke Bentley11 a.m. Monday, Sept. 4, Cordier Auditorium and livestream on Facebook
Learn how Luke Bentley '13 turned his MU degree into a passport for life. Since 2018, he has served as the men's head volleyball coach at William Penn University, where he was hired to start the program and took the team to the national championship.
He speaks at national conventions, camps and clinics. He is passionate about people, learning and Manchester!  The public is welcome.
Event organizer: Beate Gilliar

The Kaepernick Effect: War, Racism, and the 21st century SportsWorld
Dave Zirin11 a.m. Monday, Sept. 11, Cordier Auditorium
This is a volatile time in the world of sports. Great controversy has been raised by the outspokenness of athletes on a host of social issues, especially racism. This talk will explore the politics of the 21st-century athlete and argue that we need to listen to what athletes have to say.
Dave Zirin has written eleven books on the politics of sports, including The Kaepernick Effect, The John Carlos Story, and Jim Brown: Last Man Standing. Check out his podcast, Edge of Sports.
This program is sponsored by the Class of 1968 Peace and Social Justice Fund and the Ira W. and Mable Winger Moomaw Fund. The public is welcome.
Primary organizer: Katy Gray Brown

Undertaking, etc.: First-hand accounts 
Joe Egner11 a.m. Monday, Sept. 18, Cordier Auditorium
North Manchester McKee Mortuary owner Joe Egner '10 and Andy Clayton, executive director and CEO of the Indiana Funeral Directors Association, will speak about how their profession draws on a wide and deep array of duties and challenges.
From composing obituaries to preparing counseling sessions on grief, this profession encompasses more than we might even imagine.
Primary organizer: Beate Gilliar

After Zero Tolerance
Oscar Guerra11 a.m. Monday, Sept. 25, Cordier Auditorium
After Zero Tolerance is a documentary by filmmaker Oscar Guerra that tells the story of a Honduran family’s struggle to reunite after being separated at the U.S.-Mexico border as a result of Trump administration immigration policies.
Guerra's documentary will be screened, followed by a Q&A with the filmmaker. Guerra is an Emmy award-winning filmmaker, researcher and educator. He is an associate professor in the digital media and design program at the University of Connecticut. 
Primary organizer: Gabriela Ramalho Tafoya

We Can Do Hard Things: Coping Skills to Face Challenges and Connect
Nathan Harmon11 a.m. Monday, Oct. 2, Cordier Auditorium 
Nathan Harmon of Your Life Speaks will speak about critical issues related to mental wellness and resiliency.
College life is a new beginning and can be challenging for students as they adjust to being independent and having more responsibilities. Harmon talks how to successfully navigate life with these new challenges. He will emphasize the importance of work ethics, priorities, being intentional, time management and a healthy balance, and how they are crucial to success.
Primary organizer: April White

The Dragon KingThe Dragon King

6:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 7, Wine Recital Hall
A terrible drought has overtaken the land, and all the world has turned brown and lifeless. The Dragon King is ruler over all things water, and the people are beginning to wonder why he has not brought the life-giving rains in such a very long time. 
An underwater fantasy based on Chinese folklore, The Dragon King tells the tale of an intrepid Grandmother who journeys to the bottom of the sea. 
Tanglewood Marionettes provides magical performances based on classic tales and modern twists.  Large, beautifully hand-crafted marionettes, colorful sets, and integrated lighting and sound create a fully immersive theatrical experience. 
Primary organizer: Katy Gray Brown

I'm Coming Out ... Life in Drag  
Neon Van Ryan11 a.m. Monday, Oct. 9, Cordier Auditorium
This VIA will be hosted by the fabulous drag queens Neon Van Ryan and Dixxxie Licious as they explore their experiences of “coming out” during the week of National Coming Out Day, which is Wednesday, Oct. 11. Both attended Manchester, and Neon Van Ryan is a 2014 MU graduate. The presentation will open with a brief performance by each, and they will talk about their experience of coming out and what drag means to them. Additionally, each will speak about their feelings on the politicization of drag. This presentation will expose students to new ideas and perspectives in a fun way. Presentation followed by Q&A.
Primary organizer: Tim McKenna Buchanan

The Best We've Got
Carl Erskine Story6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 11, Cordier Auditorium
This documentary celebrates Carl Erskine, the last of the Brooklyn Dodgers’ Boys of Summer and human rights activist.
This documentary highlights his time in Major League Baseball (MLB), topics of race during that time, and his work with Special Olympics.
This film covers the life of Erskine and how he fought for equal rights for people of color, especially teammate Jackie Robinson, and those with special needs through his position in the MLB. 
Primary organizer: Rudy Rolle

The Timing of Peace and Violence 
Maggie Elwell11 a.m. Monday, Oct. 23, Cordier Auditorium
The movement of time affects how we experience peace and violence. Fast, slow, structural, spectacular: Time matters when we discuss what we ought to do to build a better world. How do we continue to pay attention to the issues of peace and justice that matter to us when little seems to be happening? How do we respond to events that demand immediate responses? This presentation digs into questions of the speeds of peace and violence for people concerned about enacting justice and building peace in our time. Presenter Margaret (Maggie) Elwell is assistant professor of peace studies at Bethany Seminary. She is a long-distance runner and is at work on a project about the intersection of peacemaking and experiential learning. 
Primary organizer: Katy Gray Brown

Before You Burn Us at the Stake: Misconceptions of Paganism
11 a.m. Monday, Oct. 30, Cordier Auditorium
For many, the word “paganism” provokes suspicion and fear. Contemporary paganism remains among the most misunderstood and misrepresented religious traditions today. The presenters want this VIA to clarify the ways in which paganism has been discriminated against as well as the demonization that comes with the modern civilities’ identification of the religion. Justin Lasser, associate professor of religion and faculty advisor to the Pagans of Manchester student group, alongside students Ashlynn Rogers (president) and Kennedy Wills (vice president), will discuss matters that deal with misconceptions that surround this religion. A Q&A session allows attendees to ask questions about paganism and how it affects our lives. 
Primary organizers: Pagans of Manchester

Social and Political Situation in Nicaragua since April 2018
11 a.m. Monday, Nov. 6, Cordier Auditorium
Nicaragua flagJoin former political prisoner and veterinarian Denis Antonio García Jirón, and political asylum requester and sportswriter Camilo Velásquez ’07 to analyze the events that occurred in Nicaragua in 2018 and their repercussions on the country's population, the migration, the U.S. policies toward the regime, the forced exile of more than 300 opponents of the regime and possible solutions to a political coup. The currency of the issue and personal connection will help audience to understand better the political situation in Nicaragua, the transition to the U.S. and the suffering of peoples submerged in tyrannies in Latin America. Each of the presenters was a participant in the Manchester University Medical Practicum.  Denis Antonio García Jirón and his family now live in North Manchester.
Primary organizer: Jeff Osborne Learn more.

Expat Views of Qatar 
11 a.m. Monday, Nov. 13, Cordier Auditorium and livestream on Facebook
Reflections on cultures, classroom, travel and the FIFA World Cup based on Professor Emeritus Leonard Williams's experiences during two years of living and teaching in Doha, Qatar. Williams taught political science (pre-law) at Manchester until he retired. He was then a visiting professor at Georgetown University (D.C.), and then assumed an overseas two-year teaching opportunity in Qatar. 
Primary organizer: Beate Gilliar

The Mold in Florey’s Coat – How Penicillin Changed Medicine 
Watson-Kyle11 a.m. Monday, Nov. 27, Cordier Auditorium
Manchester Assistant Professor of Chemistry Kyle Watson '10 will explore life before antibiotics, the story of how penicillin was discovered and developed for common use and look to the future of antibiotic therapy.
Penicillin has been responsible for more than half of the 50 percent increase in average life expectancy since its discovery and use in the early 20th century. 
Primary organizer: Gabriela Ramalho Tafoya

The Fort Wayne Dance Collective
11 a.m. Monday, Dec. 4, Cordier Auditorium
Details to be determined.