Barry McNamara  |   Published October 03, 2018

Celebrating ‘A Virtuous Life’

Farhat Haq to speak Oct. 6 about ‘Ira Smolensky and the Meaning of Living a Virtuous Life’ as part of Great Lectures Series.

MONMOUTH, Ill. – Some of the talks in Monmouth College’s new Great Lectures Series are repeat performances of classroom sessions. But the next lecture in the series, which will be delivered Oct. 6 by Monmouth political science professor Farhat Haq, will be a premiere and a tribute.

At 10 a.m. in the Pattee Auditorium of the Center for Science and Business, Haq will speak about her late department colleague Ira Smolensky, who died March 1 at the age of 69.

IRA SMOLENSKY: ?Ira enriched the lives of generations of students, as was abundantly clear from t... IRA SMOLENSKY: “Ira enriched the lives of generations of students, as was abundantly clear from the scores of stories shared by those who gathered, in Monmouth or online, to comfort one another upon his passing earlier this year,” says Farhat Haq, who will speak about her late colleague.“One of the deepest of human desires is to be accepted for who we are – to be recognized and appreciated as a whole person, with the talents, challenges, potentialities and quirks that make us individuals,” said Haq. “During his 33 years of service at Monmouth College, Ira never failed to seek out, to value and to delight in the individuality of all those he interacted with. This was a gift he gave to hundreds of students over the years – his non-judgmental respect.”

Haq said the lecture’s title, “Ira Smolensky and the Meaning of Living a Virtuous Life,” is a reference to the 2004 book Character Strengths and Virtues by Christopher Peterson and Martin Seligman.

“Peterson and Seligman present readers with six virtues that all human beings should strive towards: wisdom, courage, humanity, justice, temperance and transcendence,” she said.

Haq will discuss how Smolensky’s life exemplified those six virtues. By relying on her recollections, narratives by students who became his friends, and his family’s contribution on the meaning of baseball for Ira, Haq hopes to illustrate how following Smolensky’s example “can make us better human beings, better teachers and better citizens.”

“Ira enriched the lives of generations of students, as was abundantly clear from the scores of stories shared by those who gathered, in Monmouth or online, to comfort one another upon his passing earlier this year,” she said.

Following her talk, there will be an opportunity to share more of those stories at an 11:30 a.m. gathering in the Wallace Hall lobby.

Haq received her bachelor’s degree from State University of New York-Fredonia and her Ph.D. from Cornell University. In what he called one of his proudest moments, Smolensky said he had the foresight to see that Haq could be a good fit for Monmouth, which led to her being hired in 1987 to teach political science.

The author of several articles, Haq is in the process of publishing her first book, Blasphemy Politics: Sacral State and Secular Sharia in Pakistan.

Back to News & Events

Did you know?

  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p> Monmouth College offers several international trips each year during 2-week Scots Terms in January and May. Recently students have traveled to Botswana, Greece, Scotland, Japan, and more. </p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_urls"><a href="" target="_blank">Scots Term</a></li></ul></div></aside>
  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p> 98% of Monmouth graduates were employed or enrolled in graduate school within six months of graduation.</p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_page"><a href="/wackerle-center/career-services/" target="_blank">Career Services</a></li></ul></div></aside>
  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p> Monmouth College has an active Pipe & Drum Band. Each year on Scholar’s Day in April the bagpipers wake students up at 6:00 a.m. by playing in the residence halls!</p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_page"><a href="/academics/music/pipe-band/" target="_blank">Pipe Band</a></li></ul></div></aside>
  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p> Monmouth College has an educational garden and 6.7 acre farm. Students grow and harvest fruits and vegetables to sell at the local farmer’s market. </p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_urls"><a href="" target="_blank">Garden & Farm</a></li></ul></div></aside>
  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p> Monmouth College is the birthplace of the women’s fraternity movement. Kappa Kappa Gamma and Pi Beta Phi, two of the oldest sororities, were founded at Monmouth in the 1860’s. </p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_page"><a href="/student-life/sororities-fraternities/" target="_blank">Sororities & Fraternities</a></li></ul></div></aside>
  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p> Monmouth College is proudly test optional. Applicants may choose whether or to submit SAT or ACT scores for admission and scholarship consideration. </p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_page"><a href="/admission/apply/test-optional/" target="_blank">Test Optional</a></li></ul></div></aside>
  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p> Monmouth College offers unique academic minors in Global Public Health and Global Food Security for students who want to use their education to address global challenges. </p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_page"><a href="/academics/global-public-health/" target="_blank">Global Public Health</a></li><li class="lw_related_page"><a href="/academics/global-food-security/" target="_blank">Global Food Security</a></li></ul></div></aside>
  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p> We’re no stranger to winning. Last year the Fighting Scots won Midwest Conference championships in Football, Women’s Soccer, Women’s Basketball and Men’s Track and Field. </p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_urls"><a href="" target="_blank">Fighting Scots</a></li></ul></div></aside>
  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p> While we have the Wells Theater on campus, the Theatre department also uses the block-box auditorium Fusion Theatre downtown Monmouth.</p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_page"><a href="/academics/theatre/" target="_blank">Theatre</a></li></ul></div></aside>
  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p> 99% of Monmouth students received some type of scholarship or financial assistance.</p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_page"><a href="/offices/student-financial-planning/types-of-aid/scholarships/" target="_blank">Scholarships</a></li></ul></div></aside>
  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p> We offer a certified Peace Corps Preparation program that gives Peace Corps bound graduates a leg up in the application process.</p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_page"><a href="/academics/peace-corps-prep/" target="_blank">Peace Corps Prep</a></li></ul></div></aside>
  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p> Monmouth College covers the cost for all current students to get a U.S. passport. Unlock access to over 198 different countries! We’ll even help with the paperwork :)</p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_page"><a href="/academics/study-abroad/" target="_blank">Study Abroad</a></li></ul></div></aside>