Skip to Main Content Castleton Third Party Header

In Defense of a Liberal Education: Further reading

Resources to enrich and support the FYS summer reading experience

An essay

"Only Connect:
The Goals of a Liberal Education"

by William Cronon

Read the essay:   html | pdf

An excerpt:

"What does it mean to be a liberally educated person?...

My list consists not of required courses but of personal qualities: the ten qualities I most admire in the people I know who seem to embody the values of a liberal education. How does one recognize liberally educated people?

  • They listen and they hear...
  • They read and they understand...
  • They can talk with anyone...
  • They can write clearly and persuasively and movingly...
  • They can solve a wide variety of puzzles and problems...
  • They respect rigor not so much for its own sake but as a way of seeking truth..
  • They practice humility, tolerance, and self-criticism...
  • They understand how to get things done in the world...
  • They nurture and empower the people around them...
  • They follow E. M. Forster's injunction from Howards End: "Only connect . . ."

From The American Scholar, Volume 67, No. 4, Autumn 1998, by William Cronon, Professor of History, Geography, and Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Books on college and the liberal arts in the library

Other books mentioned by Zakaria


Author's notes
on page 171

To learn more about the sources Zakaria consulted to write this book (and some additional content), see his notes at the end of the book, starting on page 171. 


Guide author:  Charlotte Gerstein, Reference & Instruction Librarian, Castleton University