“The world needs F&M.” These are the words of Sue Washburn ’73, a member of the first class of women to attend F&M for four years, and now the first alumna to serve as chair of the Board of Trustees.
And she’s right. Franklin & Marshall College was founded on principles of deep learning that endure today—outstanding faculty, inventive research opportunities, commitment to service, and more—and we adapt to modern student needs. With serious investments in comprehensive resources such as financial aid, student health and wellness services, and the Office of Student and Post-Graduate Development, F&M has proven that it remains a valuable asset for the students of our nation and world.
We protect the spaces dedicated to the creation of knowledge, the discovery of purpose, the investigation of global issues, the development of aspiration and change. These ideals of a liberal arts education are more relevant than ever in an era when we are faced with a rapidly changing climate, multinational conflicts, and new, lightning-fast information every day.
As the philosopher Martha Nussbaum says in her book “Not For Profit: Why Democracy Needs the Humanities”:
“We live in a world in which people face one another across gulfs of geography, language, and nationality. More than at any time in the past, we all depend on people we have never seen, and they depend on us. The problems we need to solve—economic, environmental, religious, and political—are global in their scope.”
Nussbaum believes that the influence of the humanities—and more broadly, the liberal arts—on a person’s learning mind is irreplaceable. There is no better way to ready oneself for the complex future of our world. There is no better way to immerse oneself in the values, perspectives, and beliefs of others, so that we are all more willing and able to unite in our global strengths and challenges.
This future requires the collaboration and innovation of informed, democratic citizens. The liberal arts tradition prepares its students for exactly this kind of approach to life and work, so that they become prepared to engage new ideas, discover new solutions and handle complexity and change with a deep regard for knowledge and reason.
At F&M, this is our charge: to educate the next generation of global citizens. We see the lifelong impacts our alumni have made in every field, as leaders and change-makers, in pursuit of a better future. Indeed, as our new board chair proclaimed, F&M is needed by the world.