VIP Dinners Mariel Pearl '15

Hillel hosted two VIP dinners in the months of October and November. VIP stands for Very Interesting Professor and the dinner series allows students to get to know their professors in a setting different from the classroom. The dinners took place at the Sheridan Livery at no cost for the students. The dinners generally start with a student introduction of the VIP followed by a quick summation of what the Professor is working on. From there, the discussion takes off, and students have the chance to ask the VIP all sorts of interesting questions about their work and life outside of teaching.

In October, the featured guest was Professor George Bent of the Washington and Lee University Art and Art History department, where he currently serves
as chair of the department. Sophomore Kendall Knoll has been a student of Professor Bent's for the past two years and gave a heartfelt introduction about her time in his class. Professor Bent discussed some of the work he has done in his career, specifically with Medieval and
Renaissance art. With some art students present at the dinner, the discussion turned towards Professor Bent's work in Italy. The group discussed studying abroad and the importance of learning foreign language for art history. As usual, it did not take long before the discussion became lively, and the topic of conversation changed frequently. Both the students and VIP had a great time, thanks in large part to Professor Bent, and everyone enjoyed the delicious dinner!

The week before Thanksgiving break, Hillel hosted Professor Holly Pickett as our VIP at the Sheridan Livery. Professor Pickett is an Associate Professor of English at W&L and specializes in the intersection between Renaissance drama and religion. At Washington and Lee, Professor Pickett teaches courses in Shakespeare, Renaissance drama, and the history of drama, and I was lucky enough to take her Hamlet course this past spring term. Currently, Professor
Pickett is working on her second book, which analyzes religious debates in early modern English culture. After a short introduction, the discussion quickly turned to her work in England and the opportunities available for students to take advantage of study abroad.

Interestingly, the bulk of the conversation at the dinner turned to culture at W&L, and students were able to gain insight from a professor's perspective. There are far and few opportunities to become acquainted with a professor outside of the classroom, so I know that all the students enjoyed our evening with VIP Professor Pickett!