Dr. Kate Benzel
UNK Martin Distinguished Professor of English, 308.865.8294

The first in a series of lectures in a new community reading program designed for first year students at the University of Nebraska at Kearney will be presented at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 18, in the Fine Arts Recital Hall.
The lecture, which will be given by Stan Dart of the Department of Sociology, Geography and Earth Sciences, will be based on Robert Wolff’s Original Wisdom.
Designed for an audience of first year students who have read Wolff’s book, the lecture will be a discussion of the ideas the book presents.
“Though I have an expectation that the majority of the audience will have read Original Wisdom, I will not take specific excerpts from the text to build my lecture,” Dart said. “I have chosen to focus on the general ideas presented in the book, so that even those who have not had a chance to read it can still get something from the lecture.
“This book holds up a mirror to the American society and challenges us to compare ourselves to different groups of people, specifically those in Malaysia,” Dart said. “It urges us to recognize different ways of living, learning and knowing, which are all important in the process of self-development.”
Original Wisdom  explores wisdom of a stone age people called the “Sng’oi,” a people who inspired author Robert Wolff with their innate wisdom. Wolff, once a government psychologist in Malaysia, also describes encounters with tribal societies in Suriname, Indonesia and the Pacific Islands. Original Wisdom  was selected for first year students by the First Year Program Council, which includes Dr. Kate Benzel, director of the First Year Program at UNK.
A response panel made up of Dr. James Rohrer, Department of History, Trudy de Goede, reference librarian for Calvin T. Ryan Library; and UNK student Celeste Lempke will also share their perspectives on the book.
“This program allows a common ground for discussion–an opportunity to bring all students to a similar level – and that’s important,” Dart said.  
Though directed towards first year students, the lecture is free and open to the public.