John Henry Cardinal Newman, a famous Nineteenth Century English churchman wrote a treatise entitled The Idea of the University. University education was under attack in Newman’s day on grounds that liberal arts education did not equip students to fulfill a useful place in society. His response speaks volumes, and helps set the tone for what is to come:
The man who has learned to think and to reason and to compare and to discriminate and to analyze, who has refined his taste, and formed his judgment, and sharpened his mental vision, will not indeed at once be a lawyer, or a pleader, or an orator, or a statesman, or a physician, . . . but he will be placed in that state of intellect in which he can take up any one of the sciences or callings I have referred to, or any other for which he has a taste or special talent, with an ease, a grace, a versatility, and a success, to which another is a stranger. I say that a cultivated intellect, because it is a good in itself, brings with it a power and a grace to every work and occupation which it undertakes, and enables us to be more useful, and to a greater number (The Idea of the University. U Notre Dame Press,1982, pp. 124 & 6).
View a cool PowerPoint on Rhetoric in the Liberal Arts.