From the President

Dear Alumni and Friends,

Here are three sure-fire ways to perplex people who don’t understand the liberal arts. Tell them:

  • You know what’s a good major for a future attorney? Physics for one. Of course, you’d better be able to write well, too.
  • You know what’s a good major for a future physician? English for one. Of course, you’d better know your organic compounds, too.
  • When I was a dean, I used to tell the parents of incoming students that 90 percent of the first year class knew what they were going to major in, and 70 percent were wrong.

When we were students, many of us—much like today’s students—loved our majors in large part because we were drawn to their contents. It’s the sounds that thrill a singer, the forces that intrigue a physicist, the lyrics and the narratives that entrance a reader of literature, the factions that fascinate a follower of politics. Yet these things, as much as we like them, turn out to be mere vehicles for what’s deep and enduring in the kind of education we offer at Nebraska Wesleyan.

What’s deep and enduring is the shaping of a mind, the forming of a character, the launching of a life—in varieties and for purposes that for the most part will end up having very little to do with the major any of us completed in college.


What’s deep and enduring is the shaping of a mind, the forming of a character, the launching of a life—in varieties and for purposes that for the most part will end up having very little to do with the major any of us completed in college.   Every subject we offer at Nebraska Wesleyan contributes to those most important results of a liberal arts education.

Students have often said to me that they’d like the name of their major to appear on their diploma. Yet I’ve never heard even one alumnus pine about the “missing” major on the sheepskin.

Nebraska Wesleyan alumni accomplish amazing feats. They go surprising places. They make remarkable connections. They provide exceptional service. They continue to grow and change throughout their lives because of the flexible foundations they were given here during their college years. There are lovely stories in this issue of our Archways magazine that illustrate this lesson, an important liberal arts lesson.

As you read and enjoy this issue, think about your own experience at Nebraska Wesleyan. And think with justifiable pride about its enduring value to you.

Yours truly.

Fred Ohles,
President