By Mike Murtagh
I often hear people in the liberal arts feel the need to make their case for support. It is unfortunate that we have to try and demonstrate value and importance when it should be so obvious to all. A liberal arts education teaches that lifelong learning and critical thinking lead to enriched and productive lives. The proof is everywhere.
Working at Eureka College I see the proof every day. Our graduates are leading productive lives. They are women and men of character and integrity. Good citizens and productive members of society.
One of Eureka College’s graduates went on to become President of the United States. Ronald Reagan epitomizes the value of the liberal arts. Throughout his lifetime, he appreciated the education he received at Eureka College. He felt that it prepared him well for his life’s adventures.
For all of us, it is important that not all of our leaders come from elite institutions. For if that happens, opportunity for most of us will cease to exist. Not everyone can go to Harvard or Yale or Stanford, nor should they.
That is why the education at liberal arts colleges is so important. It offers a wide range of students the opportunity to become the best versions of themselves. It teaches them resourcefulness, perseverance and resiliency that has proven to serve not only them but our society well.
When Reagan served as President his cabinet members were graduates of Yale (George Bush), Stanford (Casper Weinberger), Princeton (George Schultz and James Baker) as well as other prestigious and elite universities. As they sat around the cabinet table they looked to the graduate of Eureka College for leadership and affirmation. A graduate from a little school in the middle of the corn fields in the middle of America who proved that a liberal arts education can take you anywhere you dream to go.
Liberal arts colleges continue to provide an education that allow its students the opportunity to follow the path they choose and become what they wish to be. It is and always has been an amazing educational experience.