*Editor's note: The following article is adapted from Julius Glickman's remarks at the October 29, 2010, public opening of the Byrne-Reed House.
The new home for Humanities Texas—the historic Byrne-Reed House—will be transformative. In part, this transformation is physical. We now have a space for our headquarters, and we have preserved the century-old Byrne-Reed House, which has architectural and historical significance. Already, this remarkable project has been recognized as the best restoration of 2010 by the Central Texas chapter of the Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc.
But there is another transformation yet to come. We have created a center for the advancement of education, the exploration of ideas, and the dissemination of the humanities throughout Texas. With this restored building, we will be able to bring the humanities to more children, more teachers, more libraries, more towns, more schools, and more Texans than ever before.
For the first time in our thirty-seven-year history, Humanities Texas will have a visible, striking presence in this state. This presence will inspire curiosity and create awareness for many who do not know us and for those who do, as it already has.
The Byrne-Reed House will be a perpetual beacon to the humanities for generations, just as the national Capitol stands as a monument to our representative government and the Tower symbolizes The University of Texas as a seat of learning.
This building will be a gathering place for all who are interested in the humanities to meet, discuss, plan, execute, debate, coordinate, and promote the humanities. It will be a point of origin for new humanities projects and teaching opportunities throughout cities and towns in Texas.
The Byrne-Reed House allows us to improve and expand our educational resources, programs, and exhibitions for schools, teachers, museums, and libraries throughout Texas.
We cannot anticipate all of the opportunities that the building will generate. But this much we know: the new home of Humanities Texas will be a repository of the values of the humanities: the rule of law, tolerance of all opinions, respect for each other, freedom and democracy, education and learning, history, a curiosity for the truth—these and other values essential to a free and open society.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Otto Thorbeck both received the same classical education at the same German university. They attended many of the same classes. They both read the Iliad. They were classmates and friends. Dietrich Bonhoeffer became a Lutheran pastor, and Otto Thorbeck became a lawyer, then a judge. Bonhoeffer returned to Germany to fight the Nazis. He was caught and sentenced to death by his former classmate, Otto Thorbeck.
Mere knowledge is not enough. It is wisdom and courage we seek. We seek the values of the humanities.
We are born free but we are not born wise. If we are to remain free, we must become wise. That is why we need the humanities.
Humanities Texas will touch the lives of thousands of students and teachers. Those students and teachers will touch the lives of thousands more and will help preserve the values that make us a great civilization.