College of Liberal Arts & Sciences

Michael Swarzman

Liberal Arts Statement

I never met anyone who wore a gold tie pin before, and haven't since. Nearly thirty-five years ago, when I first met my Butler academic advisor, I was struck by the tie pin's appearance: its contour, the singular sparkle as it caught the sun, and finally the appearance it lent to the tie - adding to its rise, but gently so. I listened to Dr. Beyer at that meeting, and learned from him continuously for the next four years.

Majoring in English was an expressive decision. I wanted more than to acquire a specific body of knowledge; instead, I hoped to learn how to think critically and write concisely. With classes that were no larger than twenty students, and often less than ten, I was afforded every opportunity to achieve these goals, and they have been unfailing companions throughout my business and academic careers. Now, as I advise my daughters and other students, I stress how specific business skills may be learned at any point of one's training, but the platform of broad-based learning and critical analysis are best crafted through intensive exposure to the liberal arts.

I never imagined that life would lead to a career in business development/finance in private industry and as a faculty member in the graduate school of business and public policy and the University of Illinois, Chicago. With a sound training in the liberal arts, this leap, including the MBA curriculum, was neither difficult nor inconsistent. I urge each Butler student to consider majoring in the liberal arts, and taking this unique opportunity to develop as a person - it will serve you well throughout both your career and your life. Who knows: with some luck, you may even glimpse a tie pin or two!