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Letter: Grappling with the ideas that make us human

I read with interest Chip Morgan’s column, “Puzzling optimism about higher education” (Monitor Forum, Jan. 9). The value of a college education, and what form that education should take, is of course debatable. But as to Morgan’s point that nothing beats the experience of simply reading, considering, and discussing the work itself, I offer a reminder that a fantastic college exists where students do just that. St. John’s College, with campuses in Annapolis, Md., and Santa Fe, N.M., is a college where all students would understand Morgan’s reference to Socrates roaming the agora. All students read Plato, Virgil, Hamlet and Faulkner. All St. John’s students read the “great books” of the Western canon and discuss them in seminars, where they have no choice but to actively engage with the ideas. This type of education is not for everyone, but for those eager to grapple with the ideas that make us human, it is truly worth the price.

SUSAN SHOCK

New London

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