8.8.2018 – Faces of Marian: David Leichter
“I grew up in St. Paul, Minnesota. In some ways, my family story is a familiar immigration story – my great-grandparents on my father’s side came to New York from Eastern Europe and parts of what is now Russia in the early 1900s. They settled in the Lower East Side and later moved to Brooklyn, where my dad is from. On this side of the family, we have strong views about bagels, egg creams, and politics. On my mom’s side of the family, we have ancestors who immigrated to the United States in the 1840s and some fought in the American Revolution. On this side of the family, we have strong views on beer, Cleveland baseball, and politics. The stories we tell about our families’ origins are important – they give us an important sense of where we come from, but also remind us that who we are is complex and never completely settled.
I started at Marian in 2013 and have taught Bioethics and The Examined Life regularly. I have also taught courses on memory and politics, love and friendship, existentialism, and food justice. Philosophical ideas have always been a part of my life, probably as a result of my Jewish upbringing. As a child and teenager, I was regularly encouraged to consider, by my teachers and family, what responsibilities we have to “the other” and how we are to act on the basis of our responsibility for “the other.” With the support of my colleagues at Marian, I have been able to continue doing this by taking students on an alternative spring break to Detroit, Michigan (last March) where we worked with a social service group to feed vulnerable and marginalized groups. The work we did was inspiring and we came back with a renewed sense of purpose and commitment to justice.
There are so many opportunities for students to get engaged with their learning and I hope more take advantage of these possibilities – going on service learning trips, short-term study abroad trips, joining clubs, and taking an active role in their education. Our education forms who we are. Explore ideas in your courses that looks interesting to you, but outside of your major or minor: business students, take an art history class! Nursing students, take a Cultural, Media, Gender Studies course! Education students, take a course in post-modern literature! Explore new ideas and find a space to let yourself be challenged by these new ideas and perspectives.”