Tag Archive: humanities

  1. Louise Glück wins National Humanities Medal

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    Turning away briefly from his administrative responsibilities to appreciate contemporary art, President Barack Obama awarded one of this year’s 12 National Humanities Medals to poet and Yale English professor Louise Glück on Sept. 22.

    The award crowns an acclaimed poetic career for Glück, a writer-in-residence and adjunct professor who came to Yale in 2004. She received the medal during a brief ceremony at the White House last month. Glück’s achievement was met with great excitement and pride in Yale’s English Department.

    “I join with everyone in our department in celebrating our colleague’s spectacular achievement and its recognition by the president,” Jessica Brantley, director of undergraduate studies for the English Department, wrote in an email to the News.

    The National Humanities Medal honors those who have deepened our national understanding of and engagement with the humanities, according to the National Endowment for the Humanities website. It is awarded annually to a dozen writers, artists, actors, historians and musicians. The president, in consultation with the National Endowment for the Humanities, selects each year’s medal winners. This class of medal recipients included jazz musician Wynton Marsalis and Chicano author Rudolfo Anaya. Glück’s medal citation stated that she had given “lyrical expression to our inner conflicts.”

    Though Glück said that winning the National Humanities Medal has not significantly changed her life, she said she was grateful for the honor. However, she noted that this recognition has not lessened her drive to write.

    “It always seems a very great gift to write a poem of which you stay proud longer than 24 hours. That is what I want more than anything I can name,” she said.

    Glück’s poetry has been praised for its retelling, refashioning and reviving of mythological stories. Additionally, Glück is highly regarded for her technical ability as a poet. Working within the lyrical poetic tradition, she simultaneously conveys both song and narrative in an often precarious balancing act, said English professor Richard Deming, who directs the department’s creative writing program.

    “She finds ways that those stories and myths aren’t past, but are psychological and emotional realities that she allows us to reinhabit in a way that makes it feel like they are, whatever else they might be, the stories of what it means to be human,” Deming said. “She [works] within a music of familiar language, of immediate language, of direct language.”

    According to Deming, this combination of powerful craft and complex content makes Glück’s poetry popular. Deming went on to say that Glück is one of the great figures in contemporary American poetry and one of the most influential.

    While Glück said she prefers to not overanalyze her own work, she noted that her work fits within traditional poetic motifs.

    “Most writers would say that they write about life, death, love and work, with very enormous variations within those categories,” she said. These themes recur in her 1986 poetry collection, “The Triumph of Achilles,” in her 2006 National Book Award Finalist “Averno” and most recently in the 2014 collection, “Faithful and Virtuous Night.”

    The National Humanities Medal is just the most recent prize on Glück’s long list of accolades. In 1993 she won the Pulitzer Prize for her poetry collection “Wild Iris” and in 2001 was awarded Yale’s Bollingen Prize for a life’s work of exceptional poetry. From 2003 to 2004, she served as the United States Poet Laureate.

    Nonetheless, Glück maintained that her awards are not her legacy. Rather, she said, “I would hope that I’m writing things that people would read for a long time.”

    Instead, Glück views teaching as an essential part of her literary legacy. By teaching, she is able to both honor the great teachers who helped her improve her writing and share her gifts with future generations. As an added benefit, teaching seems to help her write, she said. “Teaching keeps me alive in my mind,” said Glück.

    “In reality, the value of having someone like Louise Glück is not the awards that she wins but her absolute dedication as a teacher, her commitment to working with students and helping them become the writers they have it in them to be,” Deming said. “She’s about as necessary a poet as we have in these days when language feels so fraught and embattled.”

    Glück’s essay collection “American Originality: Essays on Poetry” is set to be published in March 2017.

  2. Happiness Studies

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    Most of my friends were taken aback when asked to recall moments when they felt happy at Yale — whatever that meant, if anything. The answers varied from winning IM pingpong to tailgates with their residential college. Most were community-centered: having someone to ride exercise bikes with at the gym, group applause for a revealing tale at a storytelling event, bumping into friends at parties. There was another common denominator among my friends’ answers: They were most often non-academic and unstructured, occurring neither in the classroom nor in extracurricular settings.

    Personal meanings of happiness, my peers revealed, are a survey in scope. For some, insignificant moments were paradoxically rendered significant in retrospect. For others, happiness involves a deliberate vision about how the seemingly disparate components of their lives correspond with one another. This second conception, which looks at the big picture rather than the little things, is centered on finding meaningful order in one’s life.

    But if happiness can mean such different things to different people, perhaps Yale is off-target in marketing itself as the  “happy Ivy” and pitching happiness as the ultimate goal for a Yale experience. Some of my friends felt pressure to provide scripted answers to university inquiries about well-being, from freshman fireside chats to university-wide surveys. Even if well-intentioned, such efforts seem wooden, incapable of engaging with the actual issue. Informal discussions among close friends, expectedly, provide a more honest snapshot of how people feel. But it’s still a weird question to ask or answer: “Are you happy?”

    And maybe it’s not always the right question. A healthier and more productive goal might be to learn how both happiness and sadness are integral to the human condition. My friends and I couldn’t resolve the relationship between happiness and mental health; one friend suggested that happiness here often becomes a substitute for mental health, when it might be more honest to say “There are things that worry me, but I am still OK.”

    As confused as my friends and I might be about happiness, we could agree on wanting more of an emotional and personal education from Yale. Peter Salovey may have championed emotional intelligence years ago, but it is still lacking in many of our professors’ teaching methods. One of my friends thought that classrooms would benefit from the professor checking in for a minute: “This is a rough week, how is everyone doing?” Classrooms should be part of our lives, not insulated from them.

    “We were talking about ‘King Lear,’” a friend of mine recalled of a recent class. “I like it as a work of art but, why I really like ‘King Lear’ has nothing to do with that. It’s the same way I appreciate music theory or the physics of a building. But the Eiffel Tower isn’t just something that is physically astonishing. It’s the magnificence I feel when I look up at it … Professors need to be able to articulate that mysterious awe, that magic about literature, science, music…” He trailed off.

    Even if we aren’t sure exactly what happiness means, we need professors, to the best of their ability, to really teach us about ‘King Lear,’ the Eiffel Tower and ourselves. Yale classrooms have too long demanded a separation of students’ emotional and intellectual lives, but the “mysterious awe” my friend described doesn’t fall neatly into either of those categories. We want answers from our professors, so we can learn to feel that awe ourselves, but too often we just get more questions. Students have deans and masters to approach with questions about how to guide their lives, at the cost of professors not understanding what it means to be a Yale student. As a result, it’s hard to connect.

    Everyone agreed that Yale has offered them a place of newfound acceptance. A home. But this comfort does not undermine the sincerity of concerns about what happiness here means. It’s a difficult, if not impossible, question to answer. Which is perhaps why “mysterious awe” is a good place to start.

  3. A Dead End into a Dark Place: Leon Botstein on the Humanities

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    Leon Botstein, the president of Bard College and the conductor and artistic director of the American Symphony Orchestra, began his talk on Wednesday night at the Yale Center for British Art by warning the audience that he intended to “infuriate you as much as I can.” Between the title of the night’s talk, “Beyond Fashion and Fear: The Future of the Humanities in the American University” and his opening promise, Botstein provided a humorous opening for what is hardly a funny concern for many humanities students: that their degrees are irrelevant and their prospects poor for finding paid work in a depressed economy.

    Botstein’s opening remark in some sense typifies the man himself, who is well known for his outspoken disregard for CollegeBoard, the SAT and college rankings publications. Botstein was ironic throughout his talk, moving effortlessly between jokes satirizing the response of parents to their children’s choice of major and deeply serious suggestions about the state of art and culture in the United States and society at large.

    According to him, many parents now dread their children’s turn to English literature, seriously believing that the major is a “dead end into a dark place.” He delighted in recounting his recent visit to Stanford, when he dined with humanities faculty who fret about their increasingly slighted role in the intellectual emphases of the university, quipping that the Stanford arts faculty have “always been marginal” there.

    Botstein did take a more serious tone about contemporary society’s real disinterest and detachment from the arts. According to him, our educational system has failed to cultivate an understanding of the relevance and importance of the arts and humanities in the American student. Most Americans, Botstein says, lack a personal attachment to music, art or literature.

    To use his example, unlike crazed soccer fans, who literally kill each other over the results of games, such passion does not exist around arts because many people lack even an amateur association with them — most Americans cannot draw or paint or play an instrument. It’s debatable whether even the most hardcore violinists ever think about beating each other up after concerts gone wrong, but this is beside the point to Botstein.

    Yale itself, Botstein continues, plays a role in perpetuating some of the “fear” surrounding involvement with the arts and humanities. Strict departmental structure and archaic, technical language of academia prevent scholars from considering important questions that span across disciplines. Students who choose to specialize in tech or natural sciences graduate with degrees that lack a background in the humanities and thus find themselves unprepared to tackle moral and ethical questions that the humanities investigate in depth.

    Botstein’s charisma and good humor gave his talk a levity that saved it from falling into a rant about the lack of public interest in the arts and the failings of institutions like Yale to help correct society’s apathy. And according to him there is hope for the future; he sees technology as a positive force for bringing the arts back to the people. But he doesn’t offer much of a vision for how technology can be effectively used to bring classical music and literature back to everyday people.

    Nor does Botstein offer an alternative to organizing departments by major, but he is sure that the status quo presents structural impediments to practical application of the arts and humanities. He refused to acknowledge the simple fact that any expansion of music or art programs in schools will require funding that is scarce. Maybe individual science and math teachers can do more in their classrooms to embrace history and literature in order to instill an ethical and moral education in their students. But for schools to emphasize the arts on an institutional level, they will have to spend.

    Botstein hints at this conclusion when he acknowledges that struggling orchestras and operations like the Met will potentially have to be subsidized in order to survive. He is clearly wary of the sensitive subject of money, though, and doesn’t press the issue. He explains how at Bard the precarious financial situation drives them to innovate, but the school is practically dedicated to creative study, and public schools have to emphasize the core curriculum over anything else. Most schools simply don’t have the same flexibility that Bard does to throw what little money they have into strengthening their arts programs.

    Ultimately, Botstein argues for vast structural changes to public and higher education in order to include the arts and humanities as central pillars of their core curriculums. This is a noble ideal, but in order to cultivate an appreciation of the arts among American students in college, that education will have to start at an elementary school level. And this is a question of funding that Botstein is not ready to address.

  4. The Classical Corporate


    Annie Wang ’13, when reached over the phone, was breathless and effusive in praising her colleagues and her work as an analyst at the consulting firm, IMS Group. This time two years ago, however, Wang was in a very different place, admitting she didn’t “really know anything about consulting,” let alone her future place of employment.

    When Wang entered Yale as a freshman, she, like many other Yalies, thought she had every facet of her future mapped out.

    “I was going to go to medical school and then be a doctor,” she recalled, adding that even in high school, she had considered medicine as her inevitable career. Halfway through college, however, it dawned upon her that any interest she may have had in organic chemistry or the pre-med track had completely dissolved. Abandoning the largely predetermined academic track that she had made as an ambitious freshman, Wang became a history of science and medicine major.  Although she was still interested in health care, she wasn’t sure what exactly she wanted to do or how she could work in the industry after graduation.

    In her junior year, she decided, on a whim, to apply to a number of consulting firms and investment banks.  Wang explained that despite not knowing that much about finance and consulting, she applied because “everyone at Yale always talks about how they’re such great places to work.” Although she did not extensively prepare for the interviews — “I struggled in my first interviews because I wasn’t very familiar with the idea of case studies” — Wang received offers from a number of firms before ultimately settling on the IMS Consulting Group, in part because the firm specialized in health care and pharmaceutical consulting.

    “I sort of kinda stumbled into consulting,” she said.


    When Brandon Fu heard this story over the phone, there was a long silence punctuated only by a wistful sigh.

    “That’s incredible,” he finally murmured in disbelief. After regathering his composure, Fu, a senior at the University of California, Santa Barbara, explained his surprise. “Everyone wants to work for one of those companies [a finance or consulting firm] but almost no one makes it,” he said, adding that students hopeful of joining an established investment bank or consultancy in New York or Chicago must begin preparing their applications from the day they step on campus as a freshman.

    “It’s kinda like getting into Yale from high school,” he said, stating that a student at UCSB who wants to work at Goldman Sachs must have a perfect resume, with no room for sophomore slumps or the like. Fu said that firms often dismiss schools such as UCSB as “party schools”and expect more outside the classroom from “non-Ivy or elite” applicants like himself.

    “Firms think that pulling a 4.0 is so easy at UCSB that I must also have had the time to do something amazing outside the classroom,” he complained, asserting that his classes are often as challenging as those of his friends who go to more prestigious schools such as UC Berkeley and Stanford.

    Yet Fu knew his dream of reaching a job at Goldman Sachs or McKinsey & Company was unlikely even before he matriculated at UCSB. Rejected by several of his top choice colleges, including USC and Columbia University, as a high school senior, Fu vowed to do everything he could at UCSB to remain a competitive applicant for a career in consulting or banking. In order to begin crafting “the perfect financial profile,” Fu double-majored in economics and accounting, majors he described as boring, but “employable.” Although Fu was an avid baseball player in high school and wanted to join a social fraternity at UCSB, he knew that he wouldn’t have the time in college for either pursuit. Rather he joined Alpha Kappa Psi (AKPsi), a business fraternity at UCSB which, according to the fraternity’s website, seeks to improve the professional success of its members “by operating the fraternity along the lines of a ‘corporation.’”

    Upon reflecting on his fraternity’s creed — something that is starkly different to the creeds of brotherhood and friendship upon which any of Yale’s six fraternities are founded — Fu noted in a matter-of-fact voice that his college experience isn’t completely dissimilar to working for a corporation. Beyond his double major and his business fraternity, where he is the Vice President of Alumni Relations and Membership, Fu juggles two local internships with an investment bank, and a logistics and supply corporation.

    “I go to school just like you go to work. You sort of just hang in there and get by, waiting for the next promotion or, in my case, an exit opportunity.”

    Despite four years of preparation and relevant job experience, Fu wasn’t able to crack into the consulting or investment banking industries. Although he’s happy with the offers he has received from accounting firms in California, he speculated that had he gone to a school with a bigger brand name like Yale, he would have been more successful in finding a finance job on the East Coast.

    “I hoped banks would see that while I may not have gone to a school like Yale or Stanford, I did everything I could to prepare myself for a career in finance and that I’d do very well in that job,” Fu said, adding that the competitiveness of the process means he’s competing with equally dedicated students who are building the same financial resumes but at more illustrious schools.

    Like Fu, Kirsten Schnackenberg ’15, a former staff reporter for the News, entered college knowing that she wanted to work in either finance or consulting. And like Fu, Schnackenberg thought her career aspirations would require her to major not only in history — a subject that she loved studying — but also in economics.

    But unlike Fu, Schnackenberg went to Yale.

    After working at JPMorgan the summer between her sophomore and junior years, Schnackenberg recalled that although she did meet fellow interns who did not come from a “target school” —  one of the elite universities that top finance and consulting firms regularly visit and encourage students to apply — they were often different from the students who did come from schools such as Yale and its Ivy League peers. Schnackenberg said that students who come from large state schools such as Ohio State tended to be finance majors near the top of their class, with resumes and extracurriculars tailored specifically toward finance and consulting. The majority of Ivy League students, on the other hand, majored in the humanities and pursued extracurriculars that they were passionate rather than prioritize the perceived “ideal” traits for a finance interview.

    Stefano Malfitano ’14, an economics and math, and humanities double-major, said that nearly every student he met at Goldman Sachs as an intern last summer was either an economics major or a STEM major. Malfitano said that while these disciplines are not relevant to investment banking per se, prestigious firms receive so many applications that their Human Resources departments resort to convenient measures for filtering prospective applicants.

    “They automatically take out a number of applicants based on cutoffs such as GPA or major,” he said, adding that most firms’ HR departments think that majors such as English or history are not sufficiently rigorous. “There is a belief that graduating with very high grades from a state school with a degree in English is not very difficult,” he said.

    Malfitano said that these automatic cutoffs do not apply to schools such as Yale partly because Wall Street knows Yale so well. The strength of the liberal arts education at Yale is so well-known, said Malfitano, that students with degrees in English or American studies are considered in a way that they wouldn’t at a less prestigious school.

    Undergraduate Career Services Director Jeanine Dames said that Yale’s extensive alumni base on Wall Street “acts as an incredible internal advocate” for current undergraduates. She added that many firms on Wall Street often ask their own Yale graduates to interview and recommend which current Yalies their firm should hire. As a result, while no one at Citigroup may be familiar with the strength of Ohio State’s African-American Studies Program, everyone there is confident that any Yale graduate, regardless of what he or she majors in, is intellectually prepared for the job.

    All eight students and alumni interviewed by the News who have worked in finance and consulting and have majored in the humanities said that their majors were never considered a hindrance in the job hunt.

    Schnackenberg said that if anything, her degree in history was advantageous during the interview process, as she was able to speak of how a liberal arts education helped her think critically and creatively. Additionally, and perhaps more importantly, it allowed her to differentiate herself from the many economics majors both at Yale and across the broader applicant pool.

    Ethan Karetsky ’14, who will find himself at Bain next fall, echoed this sentiment. An American studies major. Karetsky said his major was simply what he wanted to study, not what he wanted to do. “People are much more than their major,” he added. Karetsky said Bain values people who think differently and admitted that no one asked about his major during his interviews.

    “It didn’t seem important to them,” Karetsky said.

    It’s an attitude that pervades nearly all corners of the Yale undergraduate experience, but one that is virtually foreign to college students outside of Yale’s brass gates. For Reilley Keane, a senior studying electrical engineering at Villanova University, college was the opportunity not so much for the holistic experience Yalies seem to experience by default, but rather a means to an ultimate end: employment.

    “Do I wish that I pursued something I loved? Of course, but I’m finding the job market tough enough now as an engineering major,” he said, adding that he couldn’t imagine cracking the consulting market as a liberal arts major from Villanova.


    While Yale students and professors continue to laud the value of the humanities, Harvard seems to be shifting its tone. A Nov. 8 editorial in the Crimson encapsulates this new chord, with the Crimson staff praising the perceived decline of humanities across American colleges. “We’re not especially sorry to see the English majors go,” proclaimed the editorial staff. It’s an attitude that might not bode well for the future quality of the Crimson, but the staffers’ sentiment is not unfounded, with national trends indicating a deepening decline in appreciation of the liberal arts.

    The Crimson article reflects a student body losing faith in the career value of a liberal arts education, instead placing greater emphasis on the pragmatic skills gleaned from non-humanities disciplines. And Harvard is not alone in the pool of elite universities with this mentality: As reflected in a recent New Yorker article, Stanford is among the most recent string of upper-echelon universities aggressively attempting to “professionalize” its undergraduate experience. Along with providing selected student start-ups university endowment funding and offering three times as many entrepreneurship classes as Yale, Stanford recently changed its logo to something more aesthetically compatible with the iPhone. The old logo was designed for print and stationery, said one Stanford administrator; the new mark is more appropriate for a digital world.

    Stanford history professor David Campbell ’80 said the influences of Silicon Valley undoubtedly permeate student life in Palo Alto. When Cardinals look at the school newspaper and see another Stanford student who just reached billionaire status from another technological endeavor, a culture of hopeful followers is not far behind.

    “We’re in Silicon Valley so we’re surrounded by the ideology against which our students should push back,” Stanford history professor Denise Gigante ’87 said. She continued, adding that the culture in today’s tech environment has caused students to fear a separation between market value and life value.

    “It’s the same ideology that tells them they need to be afraid,” she said.

    Back in New Haven, Andrew Craig ’14 isn’t too worried. With a strong interest in music and performance, Craig entered Yale believing he wanted to study theater, but soon switched and remains committed to the film studies major. Because of these changing interests, Craig said he placed a heavy premium on the freedom that Yale’s education affords. While Craig does not know what life postgraduation will look like, he derives the success of his Yale education from the privilege offered by a liberal arts degree.

    “I definitely think having that liberty is an enormous privilege,” Craig said. “And not everyone is able to access that privilege. It’s huge. It’s an enormous blessing. There are people all over the state — all over the country — who don’t have that.”

    Many other Yale professors and students interviewed remain similarly unfazed by the thought that their humanities degrees would not be applicable in the job market. Professors and students alike asserted that the skills learned while pursuing a classics, history, english or humanities degree are highly transferable, no matter the prospective field.

    The ability to think critically, ask good questions and problem solve are highly applicable in the consulting world, said english professor Pamela Schirmeister ’80 GRD ’88. And despite a decline in the number of humanities majors at Yale, professors like Schirmeister are unconcerned that many of their students choose fields outside of their majors’ direct relevance, such as academia. Beverly Gage ’94, the director of undergraduate studies, echoed this lack of concern, noting that the purpose of the History Department is not merely to produce hundreds of historians.

    In fact, at least for now, Schirmeister seemed to prefer that her students not pursue careers directly associated with the liberal arts degree and instead experiment in the world of Wall Street.  Ultimately, it’s “so much the better if they then go into the financial services industry,” she said. “Perhaps if more of them did, that industry wouldn’t be in the trouble it is.”


    But others at Yale remain unconvinced, expressing a deep concern at the lack of continuity between the undergraduate and post-graduate levels in the humanities. English professor David Bromwich ’73 GRD ’77 admitted that fewer of the best undergraduates who major in literature chose to go into graduate study. Instead, the bleak job market has caused a harmful change in focus.

    “Education is good in itself. If it has meant anything to you, it won’t support a theory of life that says we must pass from being penniless and thoughtful at 20 to being dull and prosperous at 40,” he said. “Are there really people who think, ‘When I was in college, I loved Tolstoy, Joyce, and Woolf, but now that I’m working for McKinsey I only have time for Twitter?’”

    Nathaniel Zelinsky ’13 earned a history major and is now pursuing a higher degree at Cambridge University. Zelinsky said while he began as an economics major, he slid away from the department and found history to be his calling. Zelinsky laughed as he described the feeling of joy when ruffling through old papers, adding that a historian occupies a position of power.

    However, his tone shifted when he began speaking of Wall Street careers and on-campus recruiting. Zelinsky lamented that a lack of “pastoral guidance” from the University allows students to fall back into old patterns of pre-established routes to success.

    Gage echoed Zelinsky’s remarks, saying she would like to see a wider range of professions actively recruiting on campus. While she said a history degree teaches students to think broadly and ask questions, she admitted some history majors go into consulting because that is who is on campus.

    Zelinsky claimed that so many humanities majors pursue careers in consulting and finance because these paths allow them to ignore fundamentally difficult questions like:  “What is the purpose of my education?” or “What is my obligation to society?”

    “A lot of my classmates in finance are not really doing anything useful for American society,” he said. “[For those] who go into finance and banking, it’s utterly and completely wasting the $500,000 it took to educate them.”

    Like Zelinsky, Matthew Shafer ’13 is pursuing a graduate degree from Cambridge University. He is a Gates Cambridge Scholar working towards a master’s degree in political thought and intellectual history. In an email to the News, Shafer emphasized his love for writing, teaching and conducting research. He said his passion for history was also a consequence of its ability to positively impact the world.

    Still, Shafer criticized the increasingly inevitable link between High Street and Wall Street. While he conceded that many students go into the financial sector for legitimate reasons, Shafer found the influences of the banking, consulting and business sectors to be detrimental.

    “The fact that there’s basically a direct pipeline from America’s most prestigious universities to America’s most powerful corporations should make us re-examine many of our assumptions about whether or not elite education is, by itself, an automatically good thing for society,” Shafer said.


    “What do you love about college?”

    It’s a simple question, but one that can trigger nearly every Yale student into a stream of gushing recollections. For the math major, it might be an introductory philosophy class he took Credit/D/Fail. For a history major, it might be the international relations conference that nearly fell through last minute.

    But when both Keane and Fu were asked this question, a flurry of awkward gaps and start-stop sentences ensued. For both of them, college was not an end in itself, as Yalies are so wont to view their undergraduate years, but rather a four-year audition for lofty, prestigious and well-paying jobs.

    “I entered college committing to a rigorous major I didn’t like,” said Keane, adding that the challenges and numerous requirements of the major prevented him from taking classes in religious studies or theology, the one subject that he had always secretly wanted to study. Other than his fraternity — something he admits was only a time commitment during his freshman year — Keane mostly hangs out with other engineering students. It is with those students that he tackles problem sets, goes out on weekends and discusses the ongoing job hunt. Keane can’t remember the last time he discussed philosophy or history with friends, but if he had to guess, it would probably have been in high school.

    As professor Charles Hill explained when he hears these stories, the strength of the undergraduate experience at Yale lies in its steadfast commitment to the liberal arts and the humanities. Hill said that Yale’s commitment is an increasingly rare one as more and more of Yale’s peers are changing directions.

    “Everyone, especially Stanford, is becoming more vocational, more focused on training than educating,” said Hill, who is also a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute at Stanford, adding that “Stanford has become Stanford Tech” because its students are increasingly forsaking a liberal arts education for a narrower and more scientific curriculum.

    As more universities shift towards professionalizing their curricula and undercutting the humanities, Hill said that more students and the media are adopting a misguided view that the humanities are a luxury that can be trimmed during economically difficult years. Hill believes that students armed with a strong understanding of the humanities are, in fact, better equipped to succeed in whatever career they pursue because the humanities trains students to embrace uncertainty.

    But it’s an intellectual foundation that students like Keane and Fu said they only wish they could enjoy.

    “Do I wish that I had the Yale experience of a liberal arts education? I can’t really say, it seems too surreal to imagine,” said Fu.