Date Published: Thursday, January 30, 2020
I begin with some good news. The placement rate — the percentage of students who are either pursuing further education or gainfully employed — for the graduating class of 2019 is a remarkable 97.3%. This is based on very strong data, with 97% reporting. Combined with our stellar acceptance rates to medical and law school, the placement rate indicates that UD is preparing students quite well for life after graduation.
Of course, a UD education has never been primarily about instrumental goods. From its founding, UD has aimed to fulfill St. John Henry Newman’s Idea of a University as a place where truth is pursued for its own sake. Still, as Newman acknowledged, university life ought to be about moral and spiritual formation as well as intellectual excellence. It is also a preparation for the world, for careers and political life.
UD does a remarkable job of combining elements of education that have been severed in much of higher education. We combine a commitment to classical education with an opportunity for high-level modern research, especially in the sciences. UD offers a formation in intellectual and moral virtue along with training in much-needed and increasingly neglected skills, such as writing.
Just last week, I had the privilege of attending a luncheon for the Gupta Hall of Fame inductees, who were officially inducted on Jan. 24. During the lunch, popular Gupta professor J. Lee Whittington offered remarks on leadership training as character formation. Grounding his comments in Scripture, Dr. Whittington suggested that the goal of education is not about what you have or what you do but about the sort of person you ought to become.
Following his words, Gupta alumni took turns sharing their own stories about the impact of their UD education. Many cited the training in particular skills or distinctive programs of study. All mentioned the personal mentoring of professors and the emphasis on principled business practices and ethical leadership. Given these underlying points of distinction, it is fitting that at recruitment events, Dr. Whittington tells students that if they are coming to UD to get a job, they have the wrong reason for an education.
Alumni who are selected for induction into the Gupta Hall of Fame particularly exemplify the results of such formation on their careers and in their lives. Please welcome our 2020 inductees to the Gupta Hall of Fame; a preview of the ceremony is available here.
UD is truly an exceptional institution. If you enter Constantin seeking a liberal education, you will also receive skills to flourish in the job market. If you enter Gupta for pragmatic reasons, you will be encouraged to reflect on and live in accordance with the life of virtue.
This week is the 46th Annual National Catholic Schools Week. I’m delighted to announce a new partnership with Bishop Louis Reicher Catholic School, a K-12 school located in Waco, Texas. This partnership will allow UD to influence classical and Catholic K-12 education in a more meaningful way. This partnership is an expression of continued growth in our classical education programming. I hope this is the first of a number of such partnerships, forming a network of Catholic schools influenced by a UD education.
If you're a UD alum, you know better than anyone what the university offers students here on campus: excellent professors and classic texts, bound together by rich conversations with good friends. I’m thrilled to announce that UD is now sharing these benefits with old and new friends around the country through our Studies in Catholic Faith and Culture Program. Lovers of learning everywhere can engage the texts of UD's Core and join with others in lively and rich discussions of video presentations from UD faculty. Cohorts are forming now across the country; to learn more, email email@example.com or visit catholicfaithandculture.udallas.edu.
As we announce initiatives to expand a UD education “earlier” to K-12 schools and “later” to alumni and friends of the university, I recommend that you read UD’s Tri-Focal Character: Thoughts from an Academic Alamo, a speech by the late Dr. John Alvis to UD’s faculty in 1989 in which he identifies our Catholicism, our patriotism, and our dedication to liberal learning as our three marks of distinction. We remember the deaths last month of John and his wife, Sara Kathleen, at a funeral later today at the Church of the Incarnation, during this week in which we are asked to reflect on Catholic schools and education. I can think of no better way to honor John today than by reading his words. They are indeed truer today than when they were first shared in 1989.
Thomas S. Hibbs, Ph.D., BA ’82 MA ’83