As our country experiences a once in a lifetime pandemic (hopefully just once), I began to reflect anew why we love Loras. I find reflection helps me cope, and I thought it might do the same for you, particularly for those contemplating Loras as their college.
COVID-19 is an infectious disease, meaning it spreads through the interactions of people. So, its remediation depends not just on science (testing, vaccines and the like); it also requires understanding people, including how we socialize and make decisions. That, in turn, requires principled thinking like you’ll learn (or have already learned) at Loras.
Principled thinking enables one to detect motivated reasoning (there’s plenty in political circles & social media). Principled thinking helps us learn from historical parallels (our country has been through smallpox, cholera and the 1918-9 flu pandemics). Principled thinking helps one ethically assess tradeoffs (shelter in place is needed, but millions have lost their economic livelihood). These are difficult issues that cannot be solved by science alone, let alone in a tweet. Fortunately, the Loras experience was designed to help you better understand the world and the people that inhabit it.
Up until now, describing the value of a liberal arts education felt abstract. No longer. I suspect many of you are contemplating what the pandemic means to you, your career, your loved ones and your community. It can feel all so uncertain and anxious. I say the best defense is a good offense. For me, that is the Loras experience. Our College has top-notch academics, athletics, community programs, outstanding placement rates and one of the best ROIs of any college in the Midwest.
Loras has always been a special place; ask a current student or alum. They’ll regale you with real connections with professors, real applied learning, and experiences that shaped them for the better. But, now, in the face of a terrible pandemic, the Loras experience matters more than ever.
You see, learning how to be a healthcare clinician, engineer, programmer or accountant (or for that matter, most professions) won’t be enough if you don’t also understand people. Obtaining “a degree” without also obtaining the experience outside the classroom won’t be enough either.
Now more than ever, principled thinking matters
Now more than ever, purpose matters; you can be the difference.
Now more than ever, placement rates and ROI from your college investment matters
In short, now more than ever, Loras matters.
Tim Suther (’82) is Senior Vice President at Change Healthcare and a member of the Loras College Board of Regents. He resides in Naperville, Ill.