A Liberal Arts Champion
Wesleyan University president and liberal arts advocate Michael Roth will deliver the Phi Beta Kappa address “Why Liberal Education Matters” at Washington College on Feb. 3. The event in Hynson Lounge at 4:30 p.m. is free and open to the campus and Chestertown community.
Known as an historian, curator, and author, Roth, a 1978 Wesleyan graduate, became its president in 2007. A regular contributor of essays, book reviews, and commentaries in the national media and scholarly journals, his most recent book, Beyond the University: Why Liberal Education Matters, is a stirring plea for the kind of education that has, since the nation’s founding, cultivated individual freedom, promulgated civic virtue, and instilled hope for the future. His call for a “pragmatic liberal education” is the cornerstone of both his leadership at Wesleyan and as part of the national conversation on the role of the liberal arts in higher education.
Roth joined Wesleyan after having served as Hartley Burr Alexander Professor of Humanities at Scripps College, Associate Director of the Getty Research Institute, and President of the California College of the Arts. At Wesleyan, he has increased grant support for students who receive financial aid and has overseen the launch of the Allbritton Center for the Study of Public Life, the Shapiro Creative Writing Center, and four new colleges emphasizing interdisciplinary research. He continues to teach undergraduate courses and through Coursera has offered MOOCs, the most recent being “How to Change the World.”
Founded in 1776, Phi Beta Kappa is oldest and most prestigious academic honor society in the country. Washington College’s chapter, Theta of Maryland, was established in 2007 and is one of only 283 across the country. More than 240 WC students, representing the highest in the College’s academic distinction, have been inducted into membership.