On Thursday, September 6, Dr. Eric Johnson, associate professor in the SMHS Department of Family & Community Medicine, will host a discussion with theologian and Duke Divinity School professor Kate Bowler. Given her training, Bowler is no stranger to dealing with questions involving life and death. But when she was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer, she began to research the uniquely American concept that tragedy is a test of character. She'll talk to the audience and with Dr. Johnson about her book Everything Happens for a Reason and Other Lies I've Loved in an on-stage discussion.
The event, which is free and will begin at 7 p.m. at the Empire Arts Center in Grand Forks, is part of the 2018 Humanities North Dakota GameChanger ideas festival. Humanities North Dakota (formerly known as the North Dakota Humanities Council) is a statewide nonprofit dedicated to providing communities with programs and events that challenge citizens to ask big questions and become informed about the issues that affect us all. Each year the group selects a new theme for its festival; this year's theme is "The Pursuit of Health and Happiness."
As a follow-up, on Friday, September 7 the Empire Arts Center will host a premiere of the play "A Beautiful Hell," which chronicles the true story of a mother's loss of her young son from cancer. Based on the book of poetry by the same name, the author—local writer and grief counselor Carol Kapaun Ratchenski—will take the stage following the performance to discuss grief and resilience.
UND students, including all SMHS students, can attend the premiere of "A Beautiful Hell," presented by Theatre B, for free by entering the access code "UNDstudent" here to unlock free tickets to the event.