I was sent this article about Sierra Nevada College terminating six faculty members, most of whom were from the English and humanities departments. There is fear that the current president does not believe these types of programs benefit graduates. As a graduate of Sierra Nevada College, I was asked to share my story about what my liberal arts education meant to me. As I finished typing and sent it along the appropriate channel to be used in a letter to the administration, I was filled with dread that my alma mater will soon be a shell of its former self.
I’ve decided to share what I wrote. The arts are important, valuable, and in desperate need. Choosing to go to the small, private, four-year liberal arts college tucked away on the north shore of beautiful Lake Tahoe was one of the best decisions I’ve made in 33 years. I just needed to share these words.
Thanks for reading. Support the arts and humanities. XO
I was one of the first four graduates from Sierra Nevada College to receive a BA in English in 2004. It was a proud moment for me and the three other women I shared the distinction with, and I carry that pride with me every day. Thirteen years later, I am still benefitting from the liberal arts education I received at SNC. Liberal arts teaches people how to think, not what to think. The courses I took during my three and a half years at SNC developed my critical thinking and analytical skills that I use every day in my current position as a program coordinator at the University of Nevada, Reno. My education at SNC was well-rounded and gave me a broader worldview. I became more knowledgeable in a wide range of subject. I am a more compassionate and empathetic human being because of my experiences and education at Sierra Nevada College. My specifically liberal arts education fueled my curiosity in the world and strengthened my writing skills–not just in writing fictional stories but in professional, business and technical writing as well. I have succeeded in life because of my liberal arts education at Sierra Nevada College.
As a student at SNC in the early 2000s, I was honored to study under some amazing professors. Dr. Laird Blackwell taught me the importance of fantasy literature in life, as well as how to identify a plethora of the wildflowers in the Tahoe basin. June Saraceno recruited me to work as Editor of the Sierra Nevada Review, giving me the knowledge, education, and experience that I use today in my freelancing work as a proofreader for novelists. June also taught me how to read critically and to follow my passion. Dr. Daniel O’Bryan took a chance on me in an independent study which opened up my eyes to the incredible literature from countries other than North America and Europe. Learning about other cultures through their literature made me more knowledgeable about the world that I inhabit. The same could be said about the course I took in world religions. I am a better person, a better world citizen, for the knowledge I gained through so many of my courses at SNC. Dr. O’Bryan’s philosophy and ethics courses have also deeply affected my sense of self; I carry what I learned in those courses with me to this day in my personal and professional life.