Liberal Arts Statement
Perhaps it was my preschool Champion Rester award or maybe it
was the road trip from Wisconsin to Kentucky on which we stopped at
every site related to Abraham Lincoln along the way. Mom was a
schoolteacher; Grandma loved a good car trip. They had a plan to
sneak some education into my summer vacation; I boycotted log
cabins upon the conclusion of that trip, but I also learned the
value of living history.
Or maybe it wasn't the Lincoln sites as much as it was going to
science camp and student council clinic and band camp… and deciding
that playing ATM through the headrest of our car was a really fun
game. Or maybe it was discovering that going to the repertory
theatre was just as fun as going to the movies when I was in high
school. Or, maybe, just maybe, it was the passport to the National
Parks (which I still get stamped upon visiting a park today) that
opened up a world of curiosity to me.
I might never know what started my journey into the Liberal Arts
& Sciences… after all, I ended up at Butler because we needed
to take a break from driving and Mom wanted me to start my college
search somewhere… anywhere. That ugly winter day, I showed up on
Butler's campus and requested a tour. Instead, they sent me to meet
Scott Swanson. I remember knocking on the door and meeting my
future "Adventures of Marco Polo" professor, orange sweater and
all. Over ten years later, and wearing a green sweater this time,
Scott invited me for tea in his office when we crossed paths on
campus, just to catch up. Dr. Valliere showed up for Sunday
services at our church a few weeks back - "just to check in on the
preaching". Dr. Levy responded to an email about our shared
experiences with migraines, and Dr. Anowkwa wondered if I still had
pictures from my time in Africa on my wall. Dr. Flanzbaum remembers
the time I spent in the Writers' Studio, and Dr. Kenyon wonders if
I am enjoying Indiana after returning from Massachusetts.
Relationships that matter. That's what the Liberal Arts &
Sciences at Butler foster.
It might not be too much to say that I was born into the liberal
arts and sciences and never left. I grew up in an environment that
valued questions more than answers, depth more than appearance.
Butler's core curriculum, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences,
and quirky collection of passionate professors seemed like home to
Many assume that my vocation as an ordained minister means that
faith is at the heart of what I do. In truth, it is the doubt that
speaks to me. The unanswerable questions are what inspire me.
Countless professors at Butler encouraged me to ask the questions
that mattered to me, and that is essentially what I do in my day to
day work as a pastor. I nurture questions, welcome diverse
opinions, and value the many ways that people come to and
understand their faith. I'd suggest that that is the reason for an
education in the liberal arts: it allows one to develop as an
individual while honoring the importance of community. From
Champion Rester to the Butler Board of Visitors, the leap really
isn't all that far... Both inspire dreams. From Liberal Arts &
Sciences to "real" life: not a leap at all.