Sam Fleischaker (1997-1999)

In his first year as Scholar, Professor Fleischaker, a professor of philosophy, launched the Gaudino Forums, weekly gatherings during which faculty and students could discuss controversial issues of public concern. The forums were designed to raise matters that were close to the hearts of both students and teachers and which might not be discussed in the classroom. Their success was recognized by his successors, who chose to continue them during their terms.

Professor Fleischaker created a one-month Williams-in-India program for Winter Study of 1998. Joined by his colleague in the Philosophy Department, Rachana Kamtekar, he led 33 students to India to study, respectively, “Women’s Issues in Contemporary India” and “Modernist Architecture in India.” The trips were preceded by a series of six lectures to prepare students for their international experience in “uncomfortable” learning. During his second year, Professor Fleischaker sponsored Winter Study trips by students to South Africa, Nepal, and Tahiti.

Other highlights of his tenure included a number of service-learning initiatives in and around Williamstown and a retreat for rising sophomores and juniors titled “Living Just One Life” during which they pondered how a Williams education fit in with their overall purposes in life.