Orange Alert

Free Reading and Discussion Program Available to Greater-Syracuse Veteran Community

New York Council for the Humanities and Central New York Humanities Corridor partner up to present discussion on Serving: Standing Down

Aug. 6, 2014, by Sarah Scalese

Standing Down Cover
Standing Down Cover

In a unique collaboration, the New York Council for the Humanities has joined forces with Central New York Humanities Corridor to offer Serving: Standing Down, a veterans’ reading and discussion series that will run this fall at the Syracuse University Humanities Center as part of a community partnership imitative between the Council and the Corridor. The Humanities Center and Syracuse University’s Writing Program are co-sponsors of the series.

“With its thematic focus, this reading and discussion program offers an unusual twist on the standard book group format by making time for thinking deeply about one idea, over time, from a variety of perspectives,” says Sara Ogger, executive director of the Council.

The Serving: Standing Down reading and discussion program provides a space for veterans to reflect on their service as well as the challenges and opportunities of transitioning from active duty to civilian life. Participants in Serving: Standing Down will come together over the course of four sessions to discuss a variety of thematically linked texts with Christopher Kennedy, Associate Professor of English and Director of the Creative Writing Program at Syracuse University. The Central New York Humanities Corridor’s Mellon Coordinator, Mi Ditmar will serve as host site coordinator for the program.

“The Corridor is deeply honored to be one of four sites in New York State selected to host a Serving: Standing Down reading and discussion group this fall,” says Gregg Lambert, Dean’s Professor of the Humanities, and Principal Investigator of the Central New York Humanities Corridor.  “It is apt that the group will meet in the Humanities Center, which is located in the Tolley Humanities Building, named for Chancellor William P. Tolley, who assisted in drafting the GI Bill, and who made Syracuse University one of the nation’s top schools for enrolling veterans in the 1940s and 1950s.”

“It is a privilege to be involved with Serving: Standing Down as the group’s facilitator,” says Professor Christopher Kennedy. “Providing veterans an opportunity to enrich their lives through the reading and discussion of literature is a worthy goal, and I look forward to my participation in this program.” 

The program is free and open to members of the greater-Syracuse veteran community, although space is limited and pre-registration is required. An introductory meeting is scheduled for Thursday, September 18, with regular, bi-weekly discussion group sessions beginning Thursday September 25. For more information about the series dates and acquiring books, please contact the host site coordinator, Mi Ditmar at or (315) 443-5944. 

Something special happens when we talk about what we read with others in our community. The New York Council for the Humanities’ Adult Reading & Discussion programs are designed to foster active reading and thinking, incorporating texts that serve as catalysts for civic engagement and cultural understanding, as well as personal reflection. Adult Reading & Discussion programs are currently being held in communities across New York State.

For more information about Serving: Standing Down, visit

The Central New York Humanities Corridor is a unique regional collaboration between Syracuse University, Cornell University, the University of Rochester, as well the schools of the New York Six Liberal Arts Consortium, in seven different areas of research and humanistic inquiry.  Each institution brings a vibrant and distinguished humanistic scholarly tradition to the collective work of The Central New York Humanities Corridor. In the aggregate, the Corridor’s programs bolster the relationships, productivity, and reciprocity common to the region’s humanities community. In addition, the Corridor heightens the visibility of the humanities and enhances public engagement with its activities. The initiative is today regarded as a highly visible scholarly presence across the region and is viewed nationally as a new model of collaboration and resource-sharing that can also be adapted to other regions and inter-university partnerships. The Syracuse University Humanities Center, located in the historic Tolley Humanities Building, is the administrative home to the Central New York Humanities Corridor.

The New York Council for the Humanities is a private, non-profit organization that helps all New Yorkers to lead vibrant intellectual lives by strengthening traditions of cultural literacy, critical inquiry, and civic participation.  To find out more about the Council, visit

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of either the Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.  

Media Contact

Sarah Scalese