The Thomas Jefferson Center for the Study of Core Texts and Ideas

Summer Scholars Program

The Summer Scholars program is a reading group that the Jefferson Center hosts during the summer for students living in Austin. The group meets in the evenings, in order to accommodate students who have jobs and are enrolled in classes. We also try to keep the readings short and to make it possible for students to attend who will travel for part of the summer.

The group provides an excellent opportunity for students to discuss the great books with each other and with faculty in a less formal environment than the classroom. Many participants have said that this program is among the best that the Jefferson Center offers, since it gives students a chance to mull over a core text over the course of an entire summer, reading it slowly and discussing it repeatedly over the course of a few months.

Past readings include Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America, Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, Shakespeare’s plays, St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans, Kierkegaard’s Fear and Trembling, Herodotus’ Histories, and Allan Bloom’s Closing of the American Mind.

If you are interested in participating, please email Dr. Dempsey at The readings for each summer, as well as the day and time of the weekly meetings, will be chosen toward the end of spring semester.