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Dean’s Welcome

Human beings are creatures who aspire to create and communicate, to build and record thought and theory, to fashion symbols made of words, images, sounds, shapes, movement and abstract flashes of thought itself. The College of Arts and Letters, therefore, a place of study and discovery in the Arts and the Humanities, lends a crucial context and core to the learning and expression already native to human experience.

The capacity to dream, to innovate, narrate, compose, visualize, depict, interpret and record already resides within us all. All of us are already creatures of the Arts and the Humanities and awaiting the tools to unlock that capacity. The question we have yet to discover is just how that engagement is to play in our lives. The skills and critical insights learned in the College of Arts and Letters run the gamut from studio art to philosophy, music to film, journalism to poetry, creative writing to advertising, theatre to digital new media production, just to name a few of the majoring programs within the college. The level of your involvement can run from courses taken as part of general education requirements, skills garnered to enhance other majors and interests, the pursuit of a passion in a minor, a major leading to a profession in the art or humanities, or just plain learning for the sake of being an intelligent, responsive, analytical citizen.

As such, majors in the arts and humanities have traditionally been the spring board to careers in law, medicine or business. How surprising and revealing is it that recent statistics indicate that 44 percent of biochemistry majors that apply to medical schools are accepted while 66 percent of music majors do! Musicians, it turns out, also score higher on MCATS and medical school admissions committees are drawn to them because they are well rounded.

With a faculty of active scholars and practicing artists, the experience of learning in a college like this is highly experiential and participatory. While that may be obvious in noting that a theatre major is expected to learn by performing, it is also manifested in the humanities where a philosophy student may participate in an Ethics or Bioethics Bowl Team competition against philosophy students from other universities around the nation, or where a writing major applies classroom studies to publishing a highly respected student newspaper or literary magazine.

The College of Arts and Letters is a place where we are challenged to free our capacity for invention and analysis to be the tools of whatever path we take in life. Says the Chinese proverb, “there are many paths to the top of the mountain, but the view is always the same.”

- Haig Mardirosian