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The Liberal Arts at St. Ambrose

Liberal Arts Introduction

July 2012


St. Ambrose will be recognized as a leading Midwestern university rooted in its diocesan heritage and Catholic Intellectual Tradition. Ambrosians are committed to academic excellence, the liberal arts, social justice and service.

This is the fifth issue of Scene in which we continue to "unpack" our university's vision statement to explore the meaning and significance of each of its elements, so that we may understand this vision more wholly, and thus use it more purposefully to guide us in planning for the future.

by Ted Stephens III '01, '04

Sometimes it is hard to see the forest for the trees. It's also okay to admit that.

This fall, St. Ambrose will welcome a new class of first-year students. They will arrive with dreams of being doctors or teachers, lawyers or social workers, private investigators or physical therapists. They will come with a solid vision for their future, and the faculty and staff stand ready to walk with them as they navigate their time of mind-expanding learning.

And unexpected mind-broadening questions.

Here, students have the chance to investigate the change in perspective-and change in direction-they no doubt will experience, numerous times, during their academic career.

When they leave our campus, they will do so not just with a professional focus, but as important, a worldly one. And after they have entered the job market, they will no doubt come back and share with us their newfound appreciation for what the liberal arts offered them-how what they learned guided them through turbulent times in a fast-changing world.

That is exactly what is supposed to happen.

Now, more than ever, the liberal arts can play a crucial role in how we move forward as a vibrant culture, a creative community, a nation built not just on knowledge, but also on imagination. We must be a community that not only invests in math or science or engineering, but one that also values what we gain by studying a diverse range of subjects that enhance the way we work as analysts, physicians or engineers.

That is what students and faculty discover at St. Ambrose. Enroll here, and you find an education that challenges students to load their arsenal with tools that solve problems. We help widen their perspectives and delve deeper within to uncover their life's mission. We prepare them to someday work not only to get a paycheck, but also to live in a way that is just and contributes to the greater good.

The greatest institutions in the world instill in their students an unshakeable confidence in the future and send them into the world empowered to truly make the future better. This may be St. Ambrose's greatest strength.

At St. Ambrose, students have the opportunity to surround themselves with an innovative, curious and transformative community. And when they leave our historic halls, they can go forth and make clear connections in an oftentimes unclear world-creating that vibrant culture, that creative community, a society that makes life better for all.

Indeed, Ambrosians are more than just doctors or teachers or social workers or physical therapists. They are philosophers and historians, artists and entrepreneurs, too. And they approach their work-and their life-with an aptitude for compassion, innovation and meaning.

Inspired beneath these oaks by an education immersed in the liberal arts, they see-and value-both the forest and the trees.


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