About the Opus College of Business

About the Opus College of Business

The Great Books Seminar: Great Thinkers who Shaped Western Civilization

Coordinated by Dr. Kenneth Goodpaster, the Great Books Seminar is a unique graduate-level elective course based on the world-renowned Aspen Institute Executive Seminar.  Students and alumni of any St. Thomas graduate program are welcomed.

Course Format

A six-day "residential" seminar, the Great Books course uses selected writings of great classic and contemporary thinkers as a launching point for intensive, focused group dialogue. The readings revolve around such universal human concerns as justice, rights, liberty, equality, power, leadership, democracy and community. Moderators lead conversations on the enduring ideas and ideals of world civilization, the problems and opportunities facing society today and critical issues to be encountered in the years ahead.

Discussion and debate are spirited, and the learning experience enhanced as students get to know one another in a retreat-like environment. Participants stay onsite during the seminar and enjoy meals together at the beautiful Gainey Conference Center in Owatonna, MN (no exceptions to this policy.)

A one-hour orientation is held about six weeks prior to each seminar and a one-hour closure session is held about six weeks subsequent to each seminar.

Great Books qualifies as a three-credit elective for graduate business and law students.  Students in other St. Thomas graduate programs are welcomed, but should check with their program advisor as to whether it can apply to their degree plan. 

Each seminar section is limited to 20 participants. If space is available, the seminar will be open to alumni. We are able to offer alumni reduced tuition.

View a sample syllabus

2014 Summer Term Session   

August 10-15, 2014

(Section 201, CRN: 30384)
This section welcomes graduate business students and students from other colleges. 

Moderators: T. Dean Maines and Nona Mason

Pre-seminar Orientation

Interested students not yet registered are invited to learn more by attending this session with registered students! 

Thursday, May 15, 4:45-5:45 p.m.
Terrence Murphy Hall, Minneapolis, Room 354

Orientation is scheduled by appointment for those who register after May 15, 2014. Registration closes on June 10, 2014.   

Closure meeting for August session  

Thursday, September 4, 4-5:30 p.m.
Terrence Murphy Hall, Minneapolis, Rooms 354

2014-15 Seminar Costs 

Tuition: Current cost of three credits

Lodging & meals: $1,000

Deposit: $400 (Nonrefundable; covers Aspen books/materials, etc. and is a separate fee from the lodging and meals)

To confirm a place in the seminar, students must submit the non-refundable $400.00 deposit online (using the Murphy Online eBill and ePay system) by May 22, 2014. Cancellations after July 10 may still result in student being billed the room and board fees. Royalty fees and facility contracts require these policies.

Future Sessions: 2015 J-Term

January 4-9, 2015

One section is planned for January 2015 for graduate business and law students. 

If seats are still available after the initial registration, graduate students from other colleges will be welcomed.


Contact us 

For more information, please contact Nancy Bruggeman at (651) 962-4211 or  njbruggeman@stthomas.edu.