This document titled “Humanics is Like…..,” is the Humanics Lecture that was given at Springfield College by Distinguished Professor of Humanics Holmes N. VanDerbeck on April 6, 1976. VanDerbeck was the first professor of religion at Springfield College to be the honorable recipient of the Distinguished Professor of Humanics. He had been teaching at the college for thirty years at the time that he gave this speech. He stated that his predecess...
This document titled “Humanics is Like…..,” is the Humanics Lecture that was given at Springfield College by Distinguished Professor of Humanics Holmes N. VanDerbeck on April 6, 1976. VanDerbeck was the first professor of religion at Springfield College to be the honorable recipient of the Distinguished Professor of Humanics. He had been teaching at the college for thirty years at the time that he gave this speech. He stated that his predecessors have been psychologists, sociologists, educationists, and recreationists, therefore, his paper will proceed from a slightly different point of view. VanDerbeck goes on to speak about the early history of the college and of the college’s first president, Dr. Doggett. He points out how it is interesting to note that the term "Humanics" was not originated to indicate an idea, an ideal, or a philosophy, but in fact, was meant to be used as a noun, not as an adjective to modify or condition something else. VanDerbeck states that a philosophy is an intellectual construct that may be discussed and described whether it has any relevance to the real world or not, while Humanics can only be illustrated by a happening or an event in the world. VanDerbeck describes his trouble with other terms that are often confused with Humanics such as “Sprit, Mind, and Body” and “The Whole Man.” He states that they are used mostly in the context of “self,” whereas Humanics in the context of “the other.” He considers Humanics to consist of two main areas: aspiration and “concern for others.” VanDerbeck concluded by telling three contemporary stories of happenings related to the Springfield College community to show how Humanics is done by those who profess it. Humanics is a word that has a special meaning in the history and philosophy of Springfield College, as well as in the college’s motto of “Spirit, Mind, and Body.” The Oxford English Dictionary defines Humanics as, “the subject or study of human affairs or relations, especially of the human element of a problem or situation as opposed to the mechanical.” In 1962, Dr. Glenn Olds, President of Springfield College at the time, began to wonder why this name was given to the intended philosophy of the college by Dr. Laurence Locke Doggett, Springfield College’s first full-time president. Olds acknowledged that the practices of the faculty were in large part consistent with the Humanics philosophy, but he believed that a more self-conscious application would improve chances of its continuity and survival. To ensure this, a Distinguished Professor of Humanics position was created at the college, first filled by Dr. Seth Arsenian from 1966-1969. The purpose of this position was to catalyze a renewal of consciousness in the philosophy. This was done by annually mandating the Distinguished Professor of Humanics to give a Humanics lecture on the definition of Humanics and what the concept means to them. Arsenian started this tradition in 1967 with his speech titled, “The Meaning of Humanics,” in which he described the concept as a set of ideas, values, and goals that make our college distinct from other colleges and make commitment and unity toward commonly sought goals possible.