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Thursday, October 18, 2012

Liberal Arts

What struck me about Leigh Anna Logsdon, above left,was her Molecular Biology book. She was among about 20 students who attended a conversation with Congressman Charlie Gonzalez (D-San Antonio) on October 17 at Trinity. Over my 20-some years at Trinity I have learned to embrace the liberal arts. Our students often embody the qualities of life-long learners. Leigh Anna is a Biochemistry and Molecular Biology major with a minor in Religion. And she knows the Congressman through her family and because she served as an intern for him. She took time out of her schedule to hear from a member of the U.S. Congress a day after one of the televised presidential debates. I snapped the above photo after asking her to prop up her book. She obliged, not really knowing why.

The liberal arts aside, Congressman Gonzalez spoke about the election, the Congress,and his relationship with the President. He was charming, candid, insightful, and funny. He was introduced by Ana Price, senior, and president of the Political Science Honor Society. She is also on the Student Conduct Board and is a swimmer. The Congressman used her - and me - to illustrate the different health care risks we may pose for potential insurers. She would be less risky, he opined, while I would likely have high cholesterol and other health problems not sought by insurance companies. I was pretty offended, though I do have high cholesterol and other health problems.

While citing Ana's fine conditioning the Congressman noted that he and I were not necessarily in the best condition despite both working out at the YMCA.

Congressman Charlie Gonzalez poses with senior Ana Price.
Good thing he retires after this term, as he was starting to lose my vote. I actually met him at the Y. Having great respect for personal space and boundaries I introduced myself to him several times. This eventually led to me inviting him to campus and he very graciously obliged.

In the audience Wednesday were many students from a Legislatures course taught by Professor Thomas Hayes. While I think they learned some things from the Congressman, I was actually struck by some of the other students that were there. Like Leigh Anna, at least three other students specifically came by because they knew Charlie or had worked with him as interns. He remembered them all by name and clearly had warm personal relationships with these students.

In a room nearby, prospective students were being prepped for a tour of the campus. While they didn't know a U.S. Congressman was holding court next door, I hoped that somehow they got the message of what we offer. Personal and professional connections, engagement, breadth and depth in learning, and a blended experience in and outside the classroom. There it was, right under their noses - a chance to be a part of something special. The Liberal Arts.

1 comment:

L.E. said...

One of my favorite parts about Trinity...