A liberal arts education produces more than graduates. It produces critical thinkers, courageous leaders and passionate advocates. It fosters voices that are at once strong and thoughtful. One of those voices: Mary Franz. Last year, Franz gave a memorable speech at the presidents' circle dinner. During her introduction, information about her major was deliberately withheld. She then shared three anecdotes about her experience at Saint Ben's and invited the audience to guess her major.
As people familiar with Saint Ben's, perhaps you won't be surprised to hear that everyone had trouble guessing. Franz told of studying epidemics and plagues in the modern and post-modern eras during her First-Year Seminar. She talked about discovering a love for writing and social justice. She studied politics in a post-conflict society during a Summer Global Internship Fellowship in Bosnia and Herzegovina through the CSB/SJU Center for Global Education. She interned at a local non-governmental organization whose mission is to improve the quality of life for people with disabilities through social protection, rehabilitation, job training and employment. She lived out her deeply rooted Catholic faith by organizing a CSB/SJU contingent to Krakow, Poland for World Youth Day.
This is a liberal arts education. This is the difference between studying a subject and experiencing an education. Franz is the difference. Saint Ben's is the difference. (Oh, and Franz's major? Nursing.)