Honoring a Decade Gone By
UB commemorated the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks by teaching, fostering dialogue and remembering the events of that day through a Helen P. Denit Honors Program course, 9/11: Ten Years Later.
The undergraduate senior seminar, led by Arthur Magida, writer in residence in the School of Communications Design, offered a broad analysis of the attacks and their impact on life worldwide during the following 10 years.
“The 9/11 course was an eye-opener into religion, literature, politics, music and our recent history and national identity, all of which have been shaped by the horrors of Sept. 11, 2001,” Magida says. “Some students were 9 or 10 years old when al-Qaida struck; some were in their mid-20s or early 30s. The range of ages, religions, races in the classroom always led to spirited—and often sad—discussions, with everyone, I believe, coming away with a better understanding of how we reached that moment in history, how we responded to it and how it is still defining us as a people.”
A semester-long series of academic presentations open to the public, Ten Years Later: The World 9/11 Made, supported the objectives and augmented the content of the seminar and of various freshman learning community courses focused in part on Sept. 11. Sponsored by the Helen P. Denit Honors Program and the Office of the Provost, the series hosted nationally recognized guest speakers, explored Sept. 11-themed works of literature and offered students and educators an opportunity to explore how the attacks and their aftermath changed millions of lives.
“The range of speakers from across a number of disciplines enabled students to see the many different ways that the events of Sept. 11 affected and continue to affect American society,” says Brian Etheridge, honors program director and associate professor in the Division of Legal, Ethical and Historical Studies. “Using the speakers and a common reading to integrate the theme into my freshman learning community encouraged all of us to make connections we would not have made before. For example, I was surprised and gratified to see students refer to [Sept. 11] when discussing The Last of the Mohicans and The Birth of a Nation.”
A group of 20 UB students and their guides also toured various Sept. 11 sites in New York City, including the official memorial and the FDNY Memorial Wall, on Nov. 19. The trip offered students from the honors program, learning communities and beyond the chance to explore the ways that post-Sept. 11 society has been created, redefined and celebrated through artistic expression.