When walking to class in Anderson Hall on a Monday morning, students are welcomed by the sound of music accompanied by the smell of hot coffee wafting up the stairs. They may catch a glimpse of bulletin boards introducing teachers and pictures of a manatee wearing glasses; this is all thanks to the Humanities Department!
Because of the variety of classes that are required as part of a liberal arts education, Maryville College students end up taking three to four humanities classes by the time they graduate, such as history, religious studies and ethics.
“We see students from all over campus,” said Dr. Phillip Sherman, division chair of the humanities. “We want Anderson to be a fun place to be and to make everyone feel welcome.”
Wendy Specter, the administrative assistant for both the humanities and the languages/literature divisions, has come up with creative initiatives to make the humanities more visible and be a more active part of students’ on-campus experience.
Specter came up with “Major/Minor Mondays,” which takes place every Monday from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. During these times, students can stop by the humanities suite on the second floor of Anderson Hall to grab a coffee or hot chocolate, eat a snack, and socialize with other students and professors.
“I work 40 hours a week. Plus, I take over 15 credit hours, so that leaves a lot of late Sunday nights and early Monday mornings,” said Sean Sterling, senior history major and religion minor. “Having the Humanities Department, specifically Wendy, provide us breakfast, snacks, and, most importantly, coffee is very much appreciated… it’s a blessing and a great way to start the week.”
Another event hosted by the humanities is “Pie Day, Friday!” This year on Sept. 20 from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. in Anderson 240, this second annual delicious celebratio will occur.
It’s another opportunity for students to socialize, get to know professors, and even talk with members of literary organizations such as Impressions and the Highland Echo.
This year, there will also be a prize giveaway so be sure to stop by.
The humanities have also recently acquired a mascot, known as the “Hugh manatee”—pun intended. The department raised money to adopt a real manatee that lives in Mote Marine in Florida, and they keep a stuffed version of him in the humanities suite.
Hugh is an active member on campus; he has a Maryville College student ID, goes to events on campus, interacts with students, and even travels with professors.
To keep up with his shenanigans, follow @hughmanateeMC on Instagram.
Hugh mascot merchandise can be purchased online at the Maryville College humanities website; just search the page for “Hugh the Manatee Gear.” All net proceeds go to funding the events mentioned above.
“Our mission is to take care of students and create a community they can feel comfortable in,” Specter said. “We hope everyone will take advantage of what we have to offer.”