September 30, 2009

Distinctive Hutchins School at SSU Celebrates 40th Anniversary

Alumni, faculty, students, and staff are poised to celebrate an educational experiment that has turned into a forty-year institution at Sonoma State University on Saturday, Oct. 17 on the Rohnert Park campus.

Forty years ago, the Hutchins School of Liberal Studies was started by Warren Olson as a unique program in the California State University system offering an alternative interdisciplinary course of study at SSU. Small classes and seminar-based learning distinguishes the Hutchins program.

An emphasis on developing a "learning community dedicated to asking probing questions and exploring multiple ways of approaching them" makes the program an invaluable resource for SSU students.

More recently, an online degree completion program and a Masters of Arts or Science as well as the Hutchins Institute for Public Policy Studies and Community Action, and Project Censored, have been added to the school.

The celebration on Saturday, after check-in at 9:30 a.m. in the Commons, features seminar discussions in Carson Hall on education and social change, biofuels, Project Censored, humor and others, led by faculty and alumni. Complete details can be found at

At noon, lunch will be held at the Commons with a welcome from University and Hutchins officials. After lunch, alumni groups will discuss topics of their own choice using open space technology and set a new direction for the next decade.

A Hutchins Community Reception that is free to Hutchins students includes a brief presentation on the various components of Hutchins in 2009, Open Mic, cutting of the cake and dancing to the local band The Crux.

Admission to the Saturday day events is $35 and dinner at the Doubletree Hotel is $45. For more information call (707) 664-2491 or e-mail

There is also a no-host Friday evening social gathering at the Doubletree Hotel and a no-host Sunday brunch at the North Light Bookstore. Pre-registration by Oct. 9 is required for those who want lunch or dinner.

Jean Wasp
Media Relations Coordinator
University Affairs
(707) 664-2057