Hogward: how Harry Potter has influenced a generation of scholars

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“He will be famous. There won’t be a child in our world who doesn’t know his name.”

Perhaps no words ring truer than these, a quote that is notorious from a series of books that quite literally changed the world. Whether you’re the biggest fan out there or completely disinterested, there’s no denying that Harry Potter is a household name.

Since 1997, when the first book was published, the series has put a mark on the generation of kids that read it. It’s a wonderful thought that millions of kids around the world all came together to partake in the same tale. But it’s odd to think that now most of these kids are now adults. Many of them are married now, have kids and jobs and apartments in the city. A lot of them are on our campus. Quite a few of them are in Ward.

The College Scholars are hosting an all-year program for the honors students that appeals to those of the magical persuasion. Director of the program, Professor Kristin Geraty, is the driving force behind the operation. Geraty wore robes and a wizard’s hat to the annual honors dinner to announce the interactive project.

When about her inspiration for the event, Geraty explained that the motto of the College Scholars program is “excellence through community.”

“The series’ themes of organization, resistance, friendship and love are what the campus and community need right now.”

Floors are being joined into “houses” named after past presidents of the college. The first and second floors are Smith House, the third was designated as Rall House (not to be confused with the literal Rall House that was the former home of the College’s presidents). The fourth floor was christened Wilde House. Those who live in other dorms, as well as commuters, have combined to form Swing House.

Houses will earn points over the course of the year for attending campus events and competing against each other in tournaments of skill, luck and knowledge, much like the Harry Potter series. Weekly movie nights are premiering with the movie adaptations of the series. Posters around the building bear the program’s pet name for the building: Hogward.

Many students are excited to revisit, as an adult, a series that defined their childhood. College Scholars mentor, Manilyn Gumapas (’18), says of Harry Potter: “it was the first advanced reading I experienced. It shaped how I perceived the entire world. It wasn’t just an escape, but a commentary on a lot of situations: friendship, bravery and courage.”

“It’s driven me to try bigger and better things and not to be intimidated by the task at hand,” says Drew O’Neill (’19). He adds that “college is a community and here you have a lot of people you can rely on.”

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