Value of a Liberal Arts Degree

"What do liberally educated young adults do for employment? Anything and everything" (p. 1) A publication written by E.R. Sturman of Dartmouth College for Peterson's Guides attempted to answer this question. He suggested that individuals not choose a career based on job market projections as they may change before the graduate enters the world of employment. He also stated that "to pursue a liberal arts degree comes down to a leap of faith". (p. 4)

According to statistics, that leap has been quite successful for many students. Sturman noted that between 1977-82 eighty-one percent of the respondents in a Willamette University survey were employed full or part time after one year of graduation. From 1989-97, 86-95% of the Willamette University graduates responding to a yearly survey reported being employed or attending graduate school.*

And, to paraphrase Mr. Sturman, students graduating from liberal arts colleges and universities do anything and everything! A liberal arts degree is more than a diploma-it is preparation for life. To quote publisher George Hoyt, class of '58', "My Willamette education taught me life lessons that I carry with me to this day."

To quote Former Willamette University President, M. Lee Pelton, "At Willamette we are confident in the virtues of a liberal arts education. The liberal arts do not merely educate our students in a set of specific skills but facilitates the capacity to think critically and objectively; to reject cant in favor of intellectual honesty and candor; to bring problems and issues a wide and deep historical perspective and understanding; to speak clearly and cogently; to write with grace and maturity; appreciate beauty and to work and collaborate with others while maintaining intellectual independence and creativity."

For more exploration of opportunities awaiting you when you receive that diploma from Willamette University, visit Career Services and Alumni Relations.


Hoyt, George, "The Scene", Spring 2001

Pelton, M. Lee, "The Scene", Summer 2002

Sturman, E.R., "The Value of a Liberal Arts Education", (1988) Peterson's Guides, Inc.

* Report for reaffirmation of accreditation, 1991-2001, Vol 2: Appendix, Willamette University.