"Liberal Arts: The Higgs Boson of Higher Education," The James E. McLeod Memorial Lecture on Higher Education

Walter E. Massey | October 2, 2012

Thank you, Gerald (Professor Early)...

First, I must say that it is great to be back at Wash U. Being on campus has brought back many fond memories of my days here as a graduate student. It is wonderful to see some of my old friends and colleagues and to meet some new friends with whom I can now share the special bond I have with this special institution.

I must also say that I am deeply honored to have been asked to deliver the inaugural address for the James E. McLeod Memorial Lecture on Higher Education. Jim was a colleague, a fellow alumnus of Morehouse College, and a person I admired greatly for his dedication to the liberal arts.

Jim worked tirelessly for what he believed in. He walked his talk. And, in the process, he built a legacy from which not only those of us in the Wash U community will continue to benefit, but also many others beyond this campus. So, I am proud and delighted to be here today.

In his invitation to me, Professor Early said: "We ask a speaker to address any aspect of the role of the liberal arts that he or she wishes," including "a personal narrative of the speaker's own involvement with it."

Well, that is the approach I have decided on—to speak with you about some of the personal experiences that have shaped my views about the importance of a liberal arts education.

Read more:
James E. McLeod Memorial Lecture on Higher Education [PDF]