Great Books and the Professional Life
As a college whose curriculum is largely comprised of study and discussion of great books, the Honors College does not aim directly or principally at preparation for a particular profession or career. Nonetheless, the sum total of a student’s experience in the Honors College will help students in crucial and vitally meaningful ways to an eventual attainment of excellence in professional life as well as in those domains of human life that matter most highly.
A mind whose cultivation takes place over the course of four years through serious reading and discussion of the most thoughtful and artfully composed writings in human history is a mind which has been seeking to understand reality in its deepest, broadest, and most subtle dimensions. Such a mind and such a human being will have been nurtured and strengthened in and through daily encounters with authors awake to what is good, to what is beautiful, and (thankfully) to what is laughable. Important, also, in our curriculum will be thoughtful reading of authors sobered by an awareness of the dark and tragic sides of our world and situation. Accordingly, it is not too much to say that the educational experience of our graduates will be conducive to their seeing things as they should be and to their looking realistically upon things as they are. This will surely be welcomed by any profession which seeks to have strength of mind and high character in its midst. In such persons, the professional world will find men and women habituated to a careful and concentrated attentiveness to matters at hand and to formulating thoughtfully measured responses to matters high, low, and complex.
The stated aims – seriously pursued – of the Honors College will occasion professionals and human beings who in their college experience will have tasted controversy at its highest level, intellectual opposition at its strongest, the constant imperatives of discipline and careful preparation, the delights of friendly, respectful, and collaborative endeavoring, the charms of competence, the importance of both principle and scrutiny of individual circumstances in prudential deliberation, and an enlivening as well as humbling awareness of the difficult availability and ever-beckoning allure of wisdom.