SIOUX FALLS, SD (KELO)– A new yearly community education event is coming to Augustana University, with the inaugural speaker happening later this month thanks to a generous donor with a big goal in mind for the Colloquium Focused on Critical Inquiry & Citizenship.

“Colloquium doesn’t mean we’re all going to be sitting in agreement on something, we’re just going to sit down learning how to talk productively with one another,” Augustana University Interim Provost Joel Johnson said.

That’s the goal of the family funding this new speaking series at Augustana University.

“The Buntrock family in the interest of advancing civic dialogue, wanted to fund this Colloquium series, so that students, faculty and the broader community could learn how to overcome some of those divides that we see in the country right now, to learn how to talk with each other, to build a civic culture amidst disagreement,” Johnson said.

The Inaugural speaker in the series is author and Harvard professor Michael Sandel.

“He’s written all kinds of great works on moral philosophy, probing into controversial issues from bioethics to populism,” Johnson said.

Augustana’s Interim Provost Joel Johnson worked with Sandell while working on his thesis at Harvard; he says there’s a big reason Dr. Sandel’s classes always fill up so quickly.

“What he really does with an audience is to get them participating in the debate so you’re not just there listening to someone speak at you, but you’re actually part of the whole experience,” Johnson said.

Helping anyone who comes to the free event at the Elmen Center on Thursday, October 26th to consider some important questions.

“You think you know what you believe on a matter, then you get thrown a hard question, something that challenges your pre-conceived notions, you have to think through that, think about how you handle that difficult question. Might confirm your initial beliefs, or you could be thrown into confusion, or you might find your beliefs have changed,” Johnson said.

You can reserve your free tickets to the event on October 26th. Sandel will also spend Friday, October 27th continuing the goal of the new series by speaking with several classes of Augustana Students.