The Value of a Liberal Arts Education

Albert Einstein said, “The value of an education in a liberal arts college is not the learning of many facts, but the training of the mind to think something that cannot be learned from textbooks.”

My undergraduate education is a liberal arts education. My major was history and my minors were English and military science. My Master of Arts degree is in Christian education. My broad-based liberal arts education did more than prepare me for a job. It provided the foundation that allows me to compete in the marketplace of ideas. I also completed the core curriculum for a computer science degree.

It has been 38 years since I heard then University of Texas at Arlington President Dr. Wendell Nedderman say I had met the requirements for my bachelor’s degree. Within minutes of his pronouncement I raised my right hand and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the US Army through Army ROTC.

I did not make the military a career. Three years later I headed to graduate school. I was amazed at how ready I was. I knew how to read, write, study, do research, write research papers, and think and make decisions.

My UT Arlington liberal arts education taught me how to think independently and make sound judgments. I learned how to expand my horizons, discover new perspectives, and acquire the tools to defend my point of view. My education helped me learn to reflect on life, have a moral and historic compass where I can distinguish good from evil, justice from injustice, and what is noble and beautiful from what is useful.

I have been employed over the years as an officer in the US Army, a minister, educator, corporate trainer, Internet Coordinator, IT Support Analyst, and IT Systems Administrator. These have been my day jobs that has supported my 30 plus years of freelance writing. Working in Information Technology it is interesting to see how many persons have undergraduate degrees in the liberal art disciplines. Most of our tech writers were English majors. Many of our business analysts and business intelligence types also have liberal arts undergrad degrees. These are the people who know how to think outside the box. These are the people with excellent critical thinking skills. These are the persons that embrace change and know how to successfully deal with it. These are people who know how to communicate ideas.

What have I done with my history degree? All the above plus I have published nearly fifty magazine and trade journal articles in over a dozen publications though the years. I have published poetry through the years. I have written hundreds of book reviews. I have a website “Kepler’s Military History Book Reviews”. The site was named a 100 best websites for history buffs. I read and review military history books published under more than a dozen different imprints. I am finishing the manuscript for my historical fiction novel I’m working one as well.

I get asked often by younger coworkers how I know so much about so much. They say I am a modern renaissance man. My answer: I have a liberal arts education from the University of Texas at Arlington.

How committed am I to liberal arts education? I have three grown children – all have liberal arts degrees. One is employed in a senior business management position, one is a teacher, and the third has worked in customer service and information technology fields before starting her own business.

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