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Syracuse University, College of Arts and Sciences

The First Year Experience

As part of the First-Year Experience, students in the College of Arts and Sciences (A&S) gain exclusive access to the First-Year Forum and The Laura Hanhausen Milton First-Year Lecture Series. The First-Year Forum is a small group, seminar-like class, to help new students discover all that A&S, the University and the surrounding communities have to offer. The Milton Lecture Series features a presentation by a prominent speaker and covers a theme central to the liberal arts.

First-Year Forum

Music, culture, community engagement, sharing experiences, and tips on adjusting to academic life—these are just a few of the activities included in the First-Year Forum.

Forum groups are comprised of approximately 16 students and are led by faculty and staff members, who are well acquainted with aspects of college life that are important to students. Groups meet weekly and are uniquely focused, depending on the interests and background of the forum leader. Discussions revolve around current issues, personal growth and goal setting, becoming an active member of an academic community, and exploring the liberal arts. Forum groups attend several activities together over the six- to eight-week program.

The Laura Hanhausen Milton First-Year Lecture Series

A shared, culminating experience for all First-Year Forum students is the annual Laura Hanhausen Milton First-Year Lecture Series.  Established in 1997 by a gift to A&S from class of 1951 alumni Jack and Laura Milton, the lecture series brings a speaker of national stature to campus each fall to address new students. Milton Lecture topics provide a common intellectual theme for discussion in Forum seminars. The annual themes are of particular importance to students and scholars of the liberal arts.

The Fall 2020 lecture series will be remote and center around the theme of "Futures," which is the subject of the 2020-21 Syracuse Symposium. The four lectures will feature presentations by academics from other institutions offered from the perspective of each division of the liberal arts core (humanities, social sciences and natural sciences) and one related to Native American and Indigenous cultures.

The Milton Lecture Series, funded by the Laura Hanhausen Milton Freshman Lecture Endowment, is held during the Fall semester each year. Past Milton lecturers have included Nobel Prize-winning author Toni Morrison (2001), Pulitzer Prize-winning author Doris Kearns Goodwin (1998), anthropologist and physician Paul Farmer (2007), and such internationally renowned scientists as Steven Pinker (2010), Jane Goodall (2006) and the late Stephen J. Gould (1997).