Liberal arts education forces students to diversify their efforts and inculcates in them a feeling for a broad horizon and a panoramic view. For this reason, they not only learn to think well but gain confidence that they can learn whatever there is to learn whenever a need arises. So, they can quickly adapt to changing situations, learn to adopt new jobs, and maneuver through life inventively. Professionalism may prepare us for a career but Liberal Arts education prepares us for a resourceful life. In short, Liberal Arts education liberates us. I don’t just mean that it makes a knowledgeable person, a person who can recite a Shakespeare sonnet, a person who, watching a ballet, can recognize a grand jetée pas de chat, or a person who can debate medieval thinkers, Boethius vs. Anselm. I mean much deeper than that. I mean a certain predisposition that urges a person to be inquisitive, widely interested in a variety of subjects, old and new, those in fashion and out of fashion, those of different cultures,
5 including your own. I mean developing a multi-layered personality, a person who is infinitely interesting. You can still worry about a career if you must. But ultimately the most profound reward of Liberal Arts education is four years of free inquiry, the privilege and joy of learning by being expansive, venturesome, inquisitive and inventive, and even a little irresponsible in a positive way without worrying about a career. And the experience of learning joyfully becomes ingrained in the person so that learning becomes a habit that not only continues but deepens through our lifetime, whatever career we choose to be in, and with each learning our life becomes richer and more fulfilled. Thus we achieve success of the third kind. That's the true gift of a good humanistic college education. But if you chase the shadow, you lose sight of the substance. Thank you. The Seven Liberal Arts remain the guiding principles of university education, even today. They consisted of the four Trivium –Grammar, Logic and Rhetoric (or public speaking) –and the Quadrivium –Arithmetic and Music, followed by Geometry and Astronomy. These became the foundation for all other learning, since the trained the mind to receive truth. Reading Questions 1.What does Aesop’s fable about the dog and his bone tell us?