Liberal arts college graduates are intent on making history in an ever-changing world. While the vast majority of college-bound students choose larger research universities, the 4-percent of graduates who go against the grain and graduate from liberal arts colleges are proving themselves as change makers.
From one-fourth of American presidents, including James Buchanan and Ronald Reagan, to one-quarter of U.S. educated Nobel laureates, some of the most influential men and women, past and present, graduated from liberal arts colleges
Research virtually any career field and you’re bound to find liberal arts college graduates in prominent roles. In fact, 14-percent of tenured Harvard law professors are proud liberal arts graduates, along with 9-percent of Fortune 500 CEOs. It’s also no surprise that 6 of the top 10 schools whose graduates go on to earn PhDs, per capita, are liberal arts colleges.
So much for the “useless liberal arts degree” argument.
Because liberal arts colleges tend to emphasize and celebrate open-mindedness, collaboration and learning beyond the classroom, grads are prepared for and able to navigate the unexpected. They are often inventive and willing to problem solve with mentors and colleagues, which are skills and traits necessary in highly demanding roles.
LiberalArtsColleges.com publisher David Kochanek explains that it’s not necessarily where students go to college, but how they study that makes the greatest difference. “Just like some of the most successful business leaders have commented, the value in the liberal arts is that students develop a much broader way of thinking,” Kochanek notes. “They ask different questions, dig deeper into research to find the answers, and bring points of view outside the immediate topic at hand.”
Thinking outside the box, along with the willingness and ability to recognize the need for various perspectives and extensive research, leads to liberal arts college graduates landing and excelling in fulfilling positions. “In their careers, this approach enables them to see solutions that others with a narrower educational background simply can’t see,” Kochanek shares. “Long term, that’s going to propel someone in an organization that values innovative thinking and questioning the norm.”
The publisher cites a recent data analysis conducted by TheUKDomain.uk, which analyzed where successful CEOs from the 100 biggest companies in the Fortune 500 and the 100 biggest companies on the London Stock Exchange went to school.
“These are some of the most influential people in the world,” Kochanek explains. “As you might expect, this list includes Harvard and University of Cambridge, but of the top nine undergraduate programs represented, two are liberal arts colleges: Carleton College and Bowdoin College.”
Billionaire businessman and well-known investor Mark Cuban sees the need for liberal arts education as we move into the future. “I personally think there’s going to be a greater demand in 10 years for liberal arts majors than there [will be] for programming majors and maybe even engineering,” the Shark Tank star told Bloomberg’s Cory Johnson in a 2017 interview. “When the data is all being spit out for you, you need a different perspective in order to have a different view of the data.”
When asked if the English majors of the world should celebrate during this time of great change, Cuban replied that English, philosophy, foreign language and other liberal arts majors will have a leg up in the not-so-distant future.
Liberal arts college, Drew University, is among the U.S.-based schools making a difference, and the proof is in its highly successful graduates. Leo Grohowski, who attended Drew, holds the coveted roles of Executive Vice President and Chief Investment Officer at The Bank of New York Mellon. Grohowski obtained a bachelor’s degree in economics from the Madison, New Jersey college before earning his master’s in business administration from the Stern School of Business at New York University. The Drew graduate is loyal to his alma mater and served on Drew’s Board of Trustees.
Some Drew grads have chosen to explore multiple career paths. Following his position as a college admissions administrator, Drew grad Rob Franek became the
Editor-in-Chief at The Princeton Review, a website dedicated to helping college-bound students get into their dream schools. Franek studied political science and history at the liberal arts university, obtaining his Bachelor of Arts degree. Along with Grohowski, the Manhattan-based editor serves on Drew’s Board of Trustees, and he utilizes his history degree by conducting historical walking tours in New York City for the touring company he founded.
As college-bound students weigh their options and consider future goals, it’s important to note that liberal arts graduates often go on to be top performers, making a difference in their communities, career fields and the world.
Those students intent on becoming influencers in any field will need the skills and confidence a liberal arts education provides.