Memories of Ian

We thank Dick Crouter for this wonderful tribute to Ian Barbour.     Ed

Ian Barbour

Ian Barbour

Along with many others whose lives he so gracefully touched, the Elder Collegium community wishes to honor the memory of Ian Barbour (1923-2013). In him we have lost a friend, colleague, and mentor — a model of the lifelong learner. As a teacher and student in our midst he was widely known for his quiet, friendly manner and probing intellect. A former CVEC classmate, David Norman, recently noted that “because of his humility and self-effacing manner, I had no idea how well respected he was in academic circles.”

Trained as a physicist at the University of Chicago, Ian had taken up the study of theology at Yale before arriving in Northfield with his late wife, Deane Barbour, in 1955. Initially teaching in the Carleton Physics department, he became founder of the Department of Religion at Carleton where he taught from 1955 until 1986. Throughout his career he encouraged the interdisciplinary study of religion in dialogue with natural science (the topic of his many books) as well as other fields, including studies of public policy, the environment, and the impact of technology on today’s world. With typical modesty he once described his life work as “a pedagogical tool to begin to look at the science-and-religion landscape.”

Never restricted in his interests, Ian took fifteen CVEC courses, ranging from poetry and Shakespeare to J. S. Bach, Sociobiology, Japanese Life and Culture, Reinhold Niebuhr, The Enlightenment, Islam, and Mattering as We Age. He had hoped to take the course on Handel’s Messiah during winter 2014. One hundred seventeen students took his own CVEC lecture course, “Science, Religion, and Ethics,” offered on three occasions between 2006-2009.

Further details of his remarkable career can be found in obituaries printed in the Los Angeles Times, the Pioneer Press, the Star Tribune, the Huffington Post, the New York Times, and the Northfield News. Contributions in Ian’s memory may be given to First United Church of Christ in Northfield, the Ian Barbour Memorial Fund to benefit religious studies and religious life at Carleton, or to the Center for Theology and Natural Sciences in Berkeley, California.

Enrollment – Winter 2014

Winter term has begun.  We hope you are enjoying your classes.

For the current enrollment report, click here:

Downloadable Registration Form for Winter Term, Jan. 6-Feb. 28, 2014

Registration Form Winter 2014 1.2

Newsletter for Winter Term, January 6, 2014

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For a downloadable .pdf version of this newsletter, click here:    Web newsletter, Nov. 2013 (1)

Barbara Evans’ Class on Architecture

The “Frank Lloyd Wright in Mason City, Iowa” CVEC class left for Mason City on October 1st–a beautiful, warm and sunny day.  Our first stop was the Architectural Interpretive Center, a newly constructed site next to The Stockman House.  A video there begins the tour of the Prairie School in Mason City and Frank Lloyd Wright’s two buildings in particular.  The interpretive center has models of the Rock Crest/Rock Glen houses on display that we later saw on foot or by bus.  The River City Society for Historical Preservation provided four informed and personable docents for our tours of The Stockman House and the Interpretive Center.  We took in the sights of the Rock Crest/Rock Glen prairie school neighborhoods on our way to lunch in the restored bank/ball room of The Historic Park Inn.  As lunch was ending our three guides from Wright on the Park (the preservation group that restored the Park Inn and City National Bank) arrived.  We began our tour in the huge and beautiful room where we had lunch.  We split into three groups for tours of the hotel and all ended outside where, from the park, we looked at other Mason City architecture that we had studied in our class.  Because we had learned much of the history and some of the basic preservation work on both The Stockman House and the Historic Park Inn, our guides were free to talk in much more depth and with much more detail about the buildings and what it took to save them and restore them.  We were grateful for such expert guides.

Our class had two, two-hour classes before our Mason City day trip.  Then the trip itself was about 9 hours long.  We ended by having one two-hour follow-up class to process what we had seen and heard.  This unique format for a class may have been more work for some CVEC people,  but that work was greatly appreciated when we saw those wonderful structures.  These photos were taken by instructor Barbara Evans on our trip.

On the left:   Stockman House,  1908, Frank Lloyd Wright.     On the right:   Park View Inn, Skylight Room.