Open the wine. Open the floor. Open your mind.

Fascinating topics. Curated background readings. Though-provoking questions.
Everything you need to host a stimulating discussion with friends.


How does it work?

Just browse the topics, pick one your think your friends would enjoy, and click to create an email invitation you can send them, with suggested time and place. A Mead-Up can be held anywhere: at a friend’s home, a local restaurant, a public library, even online. Everyone reads the background materials in advance, which usually takes less than an hour. Then you simply use the suggested questions to facilitate discussion and create an environment where ideas are free to flow. 

What is a Mead-Up?

A Mead-Up is a gathering at which people discuss an interesting topic, based on pre-assigned background readings, and using suggested questions to get the conversation started.  From contemporary social issues, to hot button policy debates, to cultural literacy, to issues in science and technology, a Mead Seminar is an opportunity to expand your horizons, learn from others, and challenge your own thinking. The only rule is to be open to the opinions of others



Mead Seminars are named for legendary University of Virginia professor, Ernest “Boots” Mead, who for over forty years held a small seminar each spring. His students picked the topics and led the discussions. Mr. Mead served as sage, mentor, and provocateur. He believed that we all have the responsibility to be informed citizens of the world and encouraged his students to be venturesome, to look beyond what they currently know and see what is on the other side.

After he passed away in 2014, Mike Lenox, a professor at UVA's Darden School who had himself been a student in Mr. Mead's class, took over the seminar and continues to teach it each year.  In turn, some of Mr. Lenox's students continued gathering for intellectual discussion even after graduation. Mead Seminars was born.

Did you host a Mead-Up? We'd love to hear about it! Send us a note! And pictures.  Or post to our Facebook page. 

Tell us about it.

Have an idea for a discussion topic? A reading we should include or remove? A question we should add or delete? Interested in curating new topics? Send us a note!


Support us.

Mead Seminars is supported by the Mead Endowment, a volunteer-led non-profit, which seeks to encourage UVA faculty to engage with students outside class. Your support will help with expenses, such as maintenance for this site.  DONATE.