The Necessity of Education Steeped in Faith and Values

The first seven months of this year have challenged us all in ways we would never have expected. From a pandemic that has presented unique health and financial hurdles to issues of equality that force us to rethink our personal and communal norms and confront our biases, we now look upon a rapidly changing world in short order.

Navigating this period in our history requires that we utilize both the tools we have and those we continue to discover. Many of those tools lie at the core of a liberal arts education.

President James E. Collins (’84)

One of the benefits of a liberal arts background is a means to work through the most critical aspects of our lives. As we try to process a flood of news and information, we work to find the best ways to not only comprehend the details and the impact but to effectively communicate with others to fix that which is broken and see the light in our darkest moments. Liberal arts are not about heart versus head – they are the interconnectedness of the two that allows us to find the facts, but also how to translate them in a meaningful way.

For most, it feels like our communities are turning against one another as our discourse becomes more strained, uncivil, and more selfish. We should not flee from this discourse but raise to a level that honors dignity. We should then embrace it as a way for us to work through contradictions, find common ground in the gray areas and find our purpose. As our view of the world changes, a flexible knowledge base better enables us to discover the best path forward. This, ultimately, is the purview of liberal arts.

A liberal arts education provides a broad knowledge base that spans across many disciplines. It enables us to look at a scientific challenge by not only its statistical merits but also how it can benefit the greater good. One that looks at social issues and injustices with compassion and clarity when combined with logic, reason and action.

An individual who digs deep to learn more, stays engaged, thrives on creativity and pushes to their most ambitious self is liberal arts at its fullest.
A strong core of faith and values only enhances a strong liberal arts education. When we combine our knowledge and compassion with the basic understanding that all individuals are endowed with fundamental dignity at their creation, we comprehend that we, as humans, thrive most when we come together. Being able to lean upon our values helps us navigate difficult times with the understanding that we are doing our best to contribute to society.

An education like the one provided by Loras College focuses on the growth of the whole student in mind, spirit and body. We need to relate to one another as humans as we develop solutions to the myriad of troubles that we encounter. Having an answer or opinion is never enough. Having a meaningful solution that nurtures and improves us is always the goal.

Our job on this planet is to contribute in a meaningful way. As we progress as a society, we encounter periods of intense transformation. During these periods, such as the one we find ourselves in today, an education shaped by not just one discipline but also a well-rounded approach to the greater good spurs on the reflective thinking and ethical decisions that make us all better.

As we can see in a world that is changing daily, a student shaped by a liberal arts education is prepared to lead, succeed and make a meaningful impact.