Award-Winning Author to Present Schell Lecture

Darrin McMahon Darrin McMahon, Ph.D., will deliver this year's Schell lecture.

The Herbert Schell Lecture has been given on campus honoring the former dean for more than 20 years. This year’s Schell lecture will be given by Darrin McMahon, Ph.D. on Nov. 30 at 7 p.m. in Farber Hall.

“McMahon is an expert in intellectual history. More recently, he’s been investigating broad questions and issues that cut across historical time periods. He looks at particular ideas and tracing how they develop over the course of Western civilization,” said Scott Breuninger, Ph.D., a professor in the history department.

McMahon will talk about idea of genius, which his recently published book, Divine Fury: A History of Genius, focuses on. He discusses the concept and origin of the concept of genius and how it has changed over time.

McMahon went to the University of California, Berkeley and received his Ph.D. from Yale. He is currently the Mary Brinsmead Wheelock Professor of History at Dartmouth College. In April 2016, McMahon was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in the field of Intellectual and Cultural History.

The Schell Lecture is sponsored by the USD history department and named after Dean Herbert S. Schell (1899-1994), who served the University of South Dakota and the State of South Dakota for more than 40 years. The lecture honors his service by spreading knowledge of history throughout the campus and community to which he was devoted. History department faculty are responsible for choosing a speaker whose research holds interest and importance to the department as well as the public. The lecture is free and open to all.


USD's College of Arts & Sciences offers students a top-notch undergraduate liberal arts education in the humanities, social sciences and sciences as well as graduate programs that have earned USD distinction as a research university by the Carnegie Foundation. The college's more than 22,000 alumni include famous journalists, Hollywood screenwriters, novelists, a Nobel Prize winner, South Dakota governors, attorneys, physicians, justices of the state Supreme Court, distinguished university faculty and international humanitarians.


Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 205 undergraduate and 73 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 17:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 17 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.