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Liberal arts education proves more than meets the eye

[caption id="attachment_14166" align="alignnone" width="300"]Gregory Medina/Staff Photographer Gregory Medina/Staff Photographer[/caption] Dr. Kerry Cronin of Boston College defends a liberal arts education, “The philosopher and theologian, Bernard Lonergan, claimed that human beings have a natural capacity for wonder. But for most of us, our wondering and asking questions has been stifled through the years.” Cronin gave a lecture at the Center for Catholic Studies sponsored event “The Value of a Liberal Arts Education” on the topic of liberal arts education as a provider of enriching lives for students. The lecture was held at 10:30 a.m. on April 15 in the Faculty Lounge. Emphasis is placed on attaining an education that will lead students to a supposedly lucrative career. Students wonder what type of degree to pursuit in order to meet their own financial demands in the future. Cronin emphasized that there is as much value in receiving a degree in liberal arts as there is in any other field that is perhaps considered more practical in terms of potential future earnings. Cronin said in an email interview that a liberal arts education should help students realize that they have minds, souls and imagination, and that it’s fun to use them. “We who teach in the liberal arts tradition have been living off of the interest of the liberal arts capital of the past,” Cronin added in an email interview. “We haven’t spent adequate time lately thinking carefully about what we do and why we do it. We haven’t considered how to evaluate and show whether we actually accomplish what we say we’re pursuing in liberal arts education.” While pursuing a liberal arts education seems like a good investment considering the points that Cronin made in her lecture, there is still much concern coming from students and parents. According the College Board, the average tuition of the 2014-15 academic year for a four-year instate public education was about $9,410 while out-of-state was $23,893. Cronin shared her opinions on tuition costs, “At a time when students and their families are rightly concerned about the skyrocketing cost of college and the sort of debt that students are taking on at liberal arts schools, we need to be careful not to let higher education become merely instrumentalized by economic concerns.” In an email interview with Msgr. Richard Liddy, director of the Center of Catholic Studies. “This was a very important lecture for Seton Hall because it articulated the very reason for the existence of Seton Hall as a Catholic University,” he said. Liddy added, “In many ways it corresponds to Seton Hall’s core curriculum which aims at articulating the very reason for a university in the first place. It aims at equipping the students with a critical view of their own contemporary culture in the light of the great works of the past. This will be of great value to them in their future lives, no matter what vocation in life they choose.” Nicole can be reached at nicole.


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