Harrison Middleton University was founded in 1998 with the belief that the study of the liberal arts is both timeless and timely because it focuses on the persisting questions of human existence and bears directly on the problems faced today. At a time when more and more adults are recognizing the benefits of lifelong learning, the Great Books of the Western World provide the medium in which to search for fundamental knowledge and unifying ideas.
The Great Books of the Western World are considered great because they speak to us in more than one way. The authors raise persistent human questions, and their different interpretations of those questions reveal a variety of independent and yet complementary meanings. Whether the works are epic poems or political treatises, and whether the subject matter is scientific, historical, or philosophical, they are all linked together. In following the great authors across time, students will find that they introduce, support, or criticize each other. In this sense, the authors converse with each other, and in this way, they draw the reader to take part in a continuing conversation.
At Harrison Middleton University, students will learn to establish a set of questions to which all authors can be interpreted as giving answers. By summarizing the opposing answers of authors to various interpretive questions on one side of an issue or another, students will define and analyze the issues, themes, and problems of western civilization. The goal is not only to gain knowledge of the past, but to also reach for the best wisdom of all the ages, for our own enlightenment and for the understanding of contemporary problems.
Harrison Middleton University is dedicated to the memory of Willis Speight Harrison and Arthur Middleton.
Willis Speight Harrison was a 1938 graduate of the School of Journalism University of North Carolina. He also served as a Lieutenant Commander in the Pacific during World War II, winning the Legion of Merit for Valor. His career in journalism spanned over twenty-five years, primarily for the Toledo Blade and the Philadelphia Bulletin where he wrote for the editorial page. He was a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and a life member and former president of the National Conference of Editorial Writers. Mr. Harrison was a chess and Scrabble player, an avid reader of the classics, and an inspiration to many.
Arthur Middleton was a British American planter, legislator, signer of the Declaration of Independence, and one of the leaders in the controversies leading up to the American Revolution. After completing his education in England at various places, including St. John's College, Cambridge, Middleton returned to South Carolina in 1763 and was elected to the colonial legislature. In 1765, he became justice of the peace for Berkeley county and also was elected to the colonial legislature. In 1775-1776, he was a member of the Council of Safety, a committee that directed leadership for the colony's preparations for revolution. He served on the legislative committee that drafted the South Carolina state constitution and was a delegate to the Continental Congress, where he signed the Declaration of Independence. Middleton was a member of the Continental Congress (1781-1783), the South Carolina legislature (1785-1786), and the original board of trustees of the College of Charleston.
"I enter into conversation and argument with great freedom and ease, in as much as opinion finds in me a soil into which it cannot readily penetrate and take root. No propositions astonish me, no belief offends me, however contrary it may be to my own"
~ Michel de Montaigne