Lyceum

By Deane Barker

This is:

  1. a type of facility, like a gymnasium or hall
  2. a type of education institution or program

The name comes from the Ancient Greek name of a gymnasium in Athens. Lyceum is often used to refer to that type of physical location.

However, the word is also used to refer to a variety of educational programs. In Europe, many countries use the word to refer to secondary education, both commonly, and as part of proper nouns.

The usage isn’t as common in the United States, but it does appear as a unique word to name some programs:

  • Lyceum at Binghamton University (New York): Affiliated with Binghamton University and National Road Scholar, this institute for lifelong learning has 500+ local members aged 50 and over who want to join a community of lifelong learners.

  • The Texas Lyceum is an association of Texans whose purposes are:

    • to identify and develop the next generation of top leadership in the State of Texas
    • to educate its Directors by identifying and exploring the interrelationships of the major issues facing Texas;
    • to help bring a better understanding of these issues to the state’s key decision makers; and
    • to promote an appreciation of the responsibilities of stewardship of the values, traditions, and resources of Texas.

Why I Looked It Up

In a discussion of the American Anti-Slavery Society:

Its faculty and students included many antislavery firebrands, and a series of public lyceum debates gave Lane [a university] such a reputation as a hotbed of activism that in 1834 the trustees forbade further debate on the matter.

In this context, it seems to refer to large halls or auditoriums where the debates would have taken place.

Postscript

Added on

Team of Rivals mentions a speech that Abraham Lincoln gave to the “Young Men’s Lyceum” of Springfield, Illinois.

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