"Universities, he proposed, are failing students and hurting American democracy. Curricula are “individualized, unfocused and scattered.” On campus, he said, “I find a kind of cultural void, an ignorance of the past, a sense of rootlessness and aimlessness.” Rare are “faculty with atypical views,” he charged. “Still rarer is an informed understanding of the traditions and institutions of our Western civilization and of our country and an appreciation of their special qualities and values.” He counseled schools to adopt “a common core of studies” in the history, literature and philosophy “of our culture.” By “our” he means Western."
From the Wall Street Journal’s “Weekend Interview” with Donald Kagan of the Department of Classics at Yale University on the occasion of his “farewell lecture”.
Fortunately, there are a number of universities still engaged in the project of educating their students in the ideas, texts, and virtues of Western civilization. Not only do we have a robust core curriculum at Ave Maria University, but most of our students fulfill the language study requirement by taking Latin. A very considerable number – especially in light of the fact that we are a Catholic, not a protestant university – do Greek as well. There are even an elite few who do ancient Hebrew with Dr. Gregory Vall of the Theology Department. This means that, besides the intellectual discipline imparted by the successful study of such languages, our students encounter some of the great minds of Western civilization in their own, original words.
As Kagan says, the protection of liberty requires citizens educated in the classical ideas which enabled liberty to flourish in this country. May God continue to help us in forming such citizens for the future!