The bottom line regarding a well-rounded, liberal arts education is that it has nothing to do with any kind of bottom line. It allows one to better appreciate music and art, history and literature. Very simply, it teaches one to live -- not to earn a living.
My first tenure track gig was in one of those ideal little burgs in the Midwest where suburban kids go to study in splendid isolation. It is a postage stamp of nine thousand souls, voted as one of the "prettiest painted towns."
There is nothing in the world like the American system of postsecondary education. These remarkable institutions need to be celebrated, supported, and nurtured if our country and our economy have hope of viability in the future.
It is on a college or university campus that students learn and strengthens an ability to live together as part of a community in a concrete and irreversible way: to give and take, to solve disagreements maturely.
To those of you who have not followed what is happening at Antioch, tucked away in Yellow Springs Ohio, what we have been doing could easily be termed "ill-advised." We've been reopening a liberal arts college.
By valuing, enhancing, and promoting the path of liberal arts, we thus make our country a more vibrant and richer place. As opposed to being degrees to nowhere, the liberal arts truly provide a portal to anywhere.
It's that exquisitely anxious time of the year when high school students applying to colleges are getting their acceptance letters and trying to decide where to spend the next four years of their time and most of their parents' life savings.