MARILYN HARRAN first began teaching about the Holocaust in 1976 as a young assistant professor at Barnard College, Columbia University. It was there that the husband of a survivor shared with Marilyn charcoal drawings on brown wrapping paper, done by his wife, haunting representations of her arrival at Auschwitz-Birkenau. The drawings, combined with the influence of Elie Wiesel's Night, began Marilyn's commitment to learning about the Holocaust so that she could in turn educate her students.
A faculty member at Chapman University in Orange, California since 1985, Dr. Harran holds the Stern Chair in Holocaust Education and faculty appointments in History and Religious Studies. She is the founding director of the Rodgers Center for Holocaust Education and the Sala and Aron Samueli Holocaust Memorial Library. Under Dr. Harran's leadership, and with the support of organizations such as The "1939" Club and The Lodzer Organization, prominent Holocaust survivor groups, the Rodgers Center offers an annual lecture series and an Evening of Holocaust Remembrance, each event attended by hundreds of students and community members. In 1994, Dr. Harran developed the first of what would become several courses on the Holocaust, now constituting a minor in Holocaust history. Chapman University students have chosen Dr. Harran "Faculty Member of the Year" an unprecedented three times in the last ten years.
In partnership with The "1939" Club, the Rodgers Center sponsors an annual Holocaust art and writing contest, now in its ninth year, in which some 3,000 students from public, private, and parochial schools participate each year. Following the awards ceremony, school representatives have the chance to meet one-on-one with nearly 100 survivors-a life-changing experience for the students and a testimony to the survivors that a new generation will be their witnesses to the future.
On April 11, 2005-60 years to the day that he was liberated from the Buchenwald concentration camp-Elie Wiesel dedicated the Sala and Aron Samueli Holocaust Memorial Library located in Chapman University's Leatherby Libraries-a place where students, survivors, and teachers can gather to learn and discuss, a site that embodies Marilyn's guiding value of education of the head and the heart-one student at a time.
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