April 11, 2000
Author and Educator David Myers to Discuss the American Paradox
Since 1960 the United States has experienced the great American paradox: While material affluence and human rights have surged, national civic health has, until recently, fallen, says retired Notre Dame President Father Theodore Hesburgh.
In response to this trend, author, educator and Whitworth alumnus and trustee David Myers penned The American Paradox: Spiritual Hunger in an Age of Plenty, which explores America's post-1960 prosperity and social recession, and suggests a road to renewal. In his book Myers also reviews current renewal efforts and documents links between faith and social well-being.
Myers will discuss this topic further as the featured speaker for the 2000 Simpson-Duvall Lectureship at Whitworth College. His lecture, "The American Paradox: Spiritual Hunger in an Age of Plenty," will take place Thursday, April 27, at 7:30 p.m. in the Seeley Mudd Chapel. Admission is free.
Myers, '64, who holds the title of John Dirk Werkman Professor of Psychology at Hope College in Holland, Mich., is an award-winning social psychologist and researcher who received the Gordon Allport Prize for his studies of group influence.
Myers' aim in The American Paradox is to contribute to a new social ecology that respects human rights while nurturing healthier individuals, families and communities. With this end in mind he notes the social consequences of American materialism and individualism and points the way toward more positive values, economic policies, media influences, education priorities, and faith communities.
Myers is much more optimistic about the future today than he was in the early 1990s when he began working on the book.
"Social consciousness is awakening. Concern for children is growing. People are questioning what unbridled materialism and individualism have meant for our personal happiness and social health," Myers says. "We are coming to revalue close, committed relationships and faith-rooted meaning and compassion."
Myers has interpreted psychological research for the public through articles in more than two dozen magazines, from Scientific American to Christian Century, and through a dozen books. In The Pursuit of Happiness: Who Is Happy - and Why (Morrow, 199; Avon,1993), and in some 400 media interviews and invited lectures, he has challenged America's individualism and materialism, and has affirmed the significance of positive traits, committed relationships, and religious faith.
His texts, Psychology, Exploring Psychology, Social Psychology, and Exploring Social Psychology, are used by students at approximately 1,000 colleges and universities and
Myers, who received doctor of humane letters degrees from Northwestern University in 1987 and Whitworth in 1989, has been a Whitworth trustee since 1995. He and his wife Carol are Seattle natives and are the parents of three adult children.
The Simpson-Duvall Lectureship honors two of Whitworth College's most distinguished professors: Dr. Clarence Simpson, professor of English from 1953 to 1980, and Dr. R. Fenton Duvall, professor of history from 1949 to 1981.
The annual lectureship is held in appreciation for Simpson's and Duvall's years of commitment and contribution to Whitworth College; it continues, in their spirit, to enrich the college community. The lecture is held once each calendar year, and topics alternate between the disciplines of history and English.
Excerpts from The American Paradox and a high-resolution photo of Myers are available online at www.davidmyers.org.
Florence Young, coordinator of alumni relations, Whitworth College, (509) 777-3799 or firstname.lastname@example.org.Julie Riddle, public information specialist, Whitworth College, (509) 777-3799 or email@example.com.
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