College of Liberal Arts & Sciences

Lori Bievenour

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 me.

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.