Beyond the Build

Continuing Education

The Case for a Liberal Arts Degree

Last weekend, I got to be a part of The University of the South’s “Beyond the Gates,” program, something I have done for many years. It’s a weekend to help mostly Seniors prepare for their lives after graduation, only  3 short months away. As I got to visit with the some 90 or so students in attendance, I saw a fair amount of English majors. I see that as a good thing.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard parents encourage their child toward a “professional degree,” but after decades in business, I’m not sure it’s the best advice. I work in a technical field, but am continually impressed with the versatility of someone with an English degree. These individuals have mastered the art of communication, both spoken and written. In any line of work, if you can’t verbalize, you aren’t maximizing your other skills sets. Why not accomplish both?

Folks in Silicon Valley and beyond are thinking that the “useless” liberal arts degree is tech’s hottest ticket. From start ups to established brands, it seems to me that successful companies employ folks who can tell their story well. In fact, Business Insider says every tech company needs at least one English major. While we are not a tech company, I can tell you having an English major here for the last 8 years has been very rewarding to all of us at SP. Maybe pursuing a liberal arts degree is a smart move after all on several fronts.

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Merrill Stewart Jr.

Merrill Stewart is Founder and CEO of The Stewart/Perry Company, a commercial building contractor based in Birmingham.