Libraries dean shares BIG Block of Cheese

If you could ask a dean a question, what would it be?

Think hard, because you will have that chance on Thursday, Oct. 16, when Patrick Burns, VP for Information Technology and Dean of Libraries, will be in the lobby of Morgan Library from 10 a.m. to noon. Stop by, grab a slice of the BIG Block of Cheese, and talk with “everybody’s dean.”

cheese-block-logoBurns was inspired by President Andrew Jackson, who opened the doors to the White House in 1837 to give citizens the chance to engage with cabinet members and presidential staff. To give the constituents something to snack on while mingling, Jackson served a 1,400-pound block of New York cheddar.

The event went down in history as a Big Block of Cheese, inspiring both an episode of TV’s The West Wing and, most recently, President Obama’s virtual “BIG Block of Cheese Day” in January, when dozens of White House officials were available via numerous social media platforms to answer questions from the American people.

Because students responded well to the last BIG Block of Cheese at Morgan Library, Burns is eager to do it again.

“I want to do it for the same reasons that Andrew Jackson wanted to do it,” Burns said. “He wanted to be able to get input from people who didn’t normally get to have an audience with him. And we can use it to educate students about the original Big Block of Cheese and the Andrew Jackson White House.”

In addition to the cheese, Burns will be joined by all of the Morgan Library associate deans, including Tom Moothart, Dawn Paschal, and Meg Brown-Sica, who will also be available for questions and comments.

Andrew Jackson served whiskey at his Big Block of Cheese, but the Morgan Library event will be dairy products and discussion only.