Columbia University professor and former provost Jonathan Cole will discuss The Great American University: Its Rise to Preeminence, Its Indispensable National Role and Why It Must Be Protected, on Thursday, August 12, at 8 p.m. at Chilmark Community Center

In his book The Great American University, Mr. Cole explores the vital role of America’s research universities as engines of technological and economic growth. Making the case for the extraordinary role these institutions play in improving our daily lives and how they have been shaped by and have shaped American society, he also examines the major challenges facing universities today.

He was provost and dean of faculties of Columbia University from 1989 to 2003, the second longest tenure in the university’s 250 year history.

Books will be available for purchase and signing following the discussion. Admission is free for center members, $5 for nonmembers. For details, call 508-645-9484.