Erik Reece visits Berea College


I am eating cornbread that is sweet and satisfyingly soft while I am seated at a round table surrounded by classmates, faculty and staff. I am reminded of family meals, occasions for catching up and eating well; this time however the occasion is with the Berea community. We have gathered for a Dinner on the Grounds event for food, fellowship and poetry read aloud by Erik Reece, author and professor at UK. In one of my classes, we have been reading Reece’s book An American Gospel where he searches for spiritual answers within his family and tradition. He spoke about being ‘intellectually thirsty’ from a young age; leading him to read books and watch movies from a wide range of sources.

I posed the question to Erik “As a teacher, how do you keep your students intellectually thirsty?” In his response he said that there is little that can be done to encourage the behavior, but it is important for educators to display their passion for knowledge and learning in whatever subject they teach. I believe that professor Reece is right. I can think of several teachers in my academic journey who have inspired me by their fervor. One teacher in particular, Lisa Ehrich of Brookhaven College led me to major in visual arts. Now, here at Berea I find myself moved by many professors who all share a love of their content.

As Bereans it is important for us to remain hungry for intellectually challenging materials. As we read, write, speak and think our way through class content we should remember that these lessons will help us in divining and understanding challenges presented to us later in life. To me, this is the basis for an education in the liberal arts. By having classes in a wide range of materials – science, humanities, math, English, etc – we will be able to relate to a diverse range of people.

To learn more about Erik Reece and his new book Animals at Full Moon please visit

Article Written by Jackson Napier.