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Smart Towns presentations at Rochester University are free to the public. For more information about Smart Towns events at RU, call 248-218-2152



“Suffragette Genius”

September 10, 2019
7:00 p.m.
Rochester Hills Public Library
Presenter: Dr. Anne Nichols

This presentation will explore how Harriet Beecher Stowe and Elizabeth Cady Stanton leveraged science and theology to advance the role of women in nineteenth-century America. 







“The Genius of George Washington”

October 30, 2019
7:00 p.m.
Rochester Hills Museum at Van Hoosen Farm
Presenter: Dr. David Greer

George Washington is rightly remembered as the “indispensable man” of the American founding, famous for both exercising and renouncing authority.  As commander of the Continental Army, president of the Constitutional Convention, and precedent-setting first U.S. president, the “father of his country” was admired by both contemporaries and later generations, by foreigners as well as countrymen.  And yet he also was and remains difficult to fully know and explain—the very definition of an enigma.  What was it about Washington that made him such an effective leader, the most trusted figure in America and a standard by which other world leaders would come to be measured? What, indeed, was his “genius”?  




“The Genius of James”

November 18, 2019
7:00 p.m.
Rochester University Auditorium 
Presenter: Dr. Greg Stevenson

The New Testament letter of James has, at times throughout Christian history, received harsh criticism from scholars. Among the accusations are that James lacks a coherent structure and unifying theme, that it presents a theology of works that is deficient in comparison with Paul’s more robust theology of faith, and that it fails to present the reader with Jesus. In this presentation, Dr. Stevenson addresses these criticisms by arguing that the letter of James is a masterful work that diagnoses a disease of the human condition that is just as vital for faith in the twenty-first century as it was in the first century.




“A Divine Madness: Creativity, Genius, and Mental Illness”.

March 19, 2019
7:00 p.m.
Rochester Hills Public Library
Presenter: Dr. Brian Stogner

In this presentation, Dr. Brian Stogner, clinical psychologist and President of Rochester College, will explore the sometimes tenuous line that separates genius from madness and review some striking examples of the connections between artistic genius and severe mental illness. 



“Genius of the Early Christian Mission”

April 2, 2019
7:00 p.m.
Rochester University Auditorium
Presenter: Dr. Mark Love

Have you ever stopped to consider that the earliest Christians preserved the sayings of Jesus in a language other than the one he spoke? Or that we read those same words in a language other than the one the biblical writers used? This willingness to translate the words of Jesus is one example among many of the fairly bold cultural instincts of early Christianity, what some see to be the genius of the faith. This presentation will consider the cultural dexterity of early Christian writers and the beliefs that authorized these bold approaches.