Honors College Students Trace Dante’s Steps during Wintermester in Italy

January 31, 2024
Great Texts in Italy

This January, 14 Honors College students embarked on a two-week journey through Italy, immersing themselves in the Great Texts in Italy program. Guided by the expertise of Associate Professor of Philosophy and Great Texts, Scott Moore, Ph.D., Rayzor Professor of Philosophy and Dean Emeritus, Thomas Hibbs, Ph.D., and Senior Lecturer in the Honors Program Stacey Hibbs, Ph.D.,  students explored the various locales depicted in Dante’s Divine Comedy and visited culturally significant sites from the Italian Renaissance.

“We had an incredible group of students who were extremely committed and interested in the material,” Moore said. “Global education is such an important part of a student’s college experience, and it was a joy to watch their horizons broaden as we traveled.”

During the trip, students explored Rome, Norcia, Cascia, Assisi, Florence, and Siena while taking either Dante and the Italian Renaissance with Dr. (Tom) Hibbs or Medieval Intellectual Tradition with Dr. Moore. 

“The program primarily focused on Dante and the Divine Comedy,” Moore said. “It’s a glorious poem, but it’s a complicated poem as well. While those things are still true when you are in Italy, personally seeing the places they are reading about gives students a greater appreciation and understanding of the text.” 

For Lily Lobo, a member of the BIC and Honors Program, this trip presented a unique chance to engage deeply with books, ideas, questions, and aspirations she has passionately pursued throughout her academic endeavors.

“[There is no] better place to take a Great Texts course about Dante and the Italian Renaissance than Italy,” Lobo said. “The class was convicting, and the texts we read challenged the readers to look inward to reflect on their actions. I also appreciated how personal the church and site visits were. Like Dante, we were pilgrims on our own spiritual journey throughout the trip!”

According to University Scholar Micah Mills, the experience gave him a deep gratitude for the education he is receiving through the Honors College. 

“After going on this trip, I now have a greater appreciation for the coursework I previously thought of as an obligation,” Mills said. “As much as stepping into the world of another culture might make me initially uncomfortable, there is much to learn from other cultures and different places and times. Although I spend most of my class time in the science building, learning how people have interacted with and interpreted the world throughout history allows me to better understand myself.” 

With leadership of another global education program under his belt, Moore plans to continue taking students abroad for as long as he can. 

“When you study something in the place where it all happened, it makes everything come alive,” Moore said. “Watching students learn new things and discover more about themselves in the process never gets old.” 

If you are interested in learning more about what the Great Texts program has to offer, please visit its website