Michelangelo's Creation of Adam (detail).

Graduate Liberal Studies 30th Anniversary

In spring 2021, the Graduate Liberal Studies Program is celebrating its 30th anniversary! It’s been an exciting 30 years and we are grateful for the hard work of many students and alumni to make this happen!

Although the plans to celebrate with in-person alumni events and dinners have been put on a hold due to COVID-19, we will launch a series of anniversary engagements to celebrate students and alumni achievements in the coming months.

Congratulations from the Dean

I congratulate Graduate Liberal Studies on the occasion of its 30th anniversary. We appreciate the niche that the program fills in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. In establishing an immersive program that attracts dedicated student followers, the faculty, students and alumni of GLS have melded a community of lifelong learners with lasting bonds formed around respectful debate and common interests. May your next 30 years be equally successful.


Jane Pulkingham,
Dean, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

A message from Professor Emeritus Stephen Duguid

It is sometimes difficult to believe, but 2021 will be the 30th Anniversary of the Graduate Liberal Studies Program. We planned to celebrate with an Alumni Dinner, a prominent Keynote speaker for the Babcock Lecture, and several new, exciting alumni programs. Unfortunately, our plans were quickly overtaken by COVID-19, the ‘bug that went viral’ and still promises to make 2021 look and feel like a repeat of 2020. So, all anniversary plans are on hold until the “all clear” is sounded.

In the meantime, your soon-to-be fellow GLS Alumni are taking their courses virtually and defending projects via Zoom. You might remember the, pre-class group dinners and post-class retreats at a bar to continue heated discussions after LS 800, which comprise such a rewarding part of our program—experiences sadly missed by the 2020 cohort. Be assured, though, that they are still loving the seminars, arguments, and occasional brilliant interventions just as in Liberal Studies seminars in the past.

But ... GLS students are like many citizens living in the midst of a prolonged pandemic. Some are suffering financial stress due to job losses or layoffs. In 2020 we had to work hard to divide up our limited student aid funds to keep some students enrolled in courses. In discussions led by the Program’s Director Prof. Sasha Colby, Prof. Gary McCarron our Graduate Chair, and the Program Steering Committee we decided that the best way forward with our 30th Anniversary activities would be to seek to enhance the endowments that support our various Awards for GLS students in need.

If you are able, please consider supporting one or more of the following endowments that produce annual awards to GLS students working toward their MALS degrees:

Either way, I hope you’ll join me in celebrating how far our program has come. I suspect that all those involved in the GLS Program from the start in 1991 would be surprised and pleased that 30 years later GLS is in such vibrant shape—despite the pandemic. Certainly I am!

With appreciation,

Stephen Duguid
Simons Chair, GLS