Friday, August 24, 2012


The other morning on 90.7 FM, our public radio station, I heard the slogan of Stetson University, one of the station’s underwriters: “Stetson, where students dare to be significant.”  Rollins, by comparison, challenges its students to learn to become “responsible global citizens.”

How about you think for yourself and try to decide on a motto that designates your own best idea of what your collegiate experience ought to make of you?

Let the essay you write reflect the course of your ruminations as you consider one or another possible slogan, encapsulating what you believe is the upshot of a collegiate education in the liberal arts and sciences.  See what motto you can devise; then unpack that slogan at length, elaborating on its implications.

For instance: “A Rollins liberal education teaches you to think well for yourself.”

The two notions implicit here are (1) thinking well and (2) thinking independently.

(1)    Presumably, it takes training and practice to think well, an ability that’s not innate but a function of exposure to many examples of clear, rational thought processing, of many kinds: you can learn to think in many ways about many subjects—in the sciences, the social sciences, the arts and the humanities.  More fundamentally, you can learn the science of rational thought itself: logic, to discover what is cogent and what is fallacious.

(2)    Then you learn to think for yourself, rather than to follow the herd or the urgings of some powerful or persuasive manipulator who wants to make up your mind for you.

Take it from here yourself.  Devise a motto that captures memorably the aim of your collegiate education, as you now see it.  Then explain it.