I STEPPED OUT OF MY OFFICE, walked down one of Blanchard’s hallowed halls, and slipped into a classroom. Professor Leland Ryken was teaching his course on John Milton during fall semester—maybe for the last time—and I wanted to hear some of his exceptional lectures again.
One of my father’s favorite Milton quotations has become one of my favorites, too. In a landmark essay entitled Of Education, the epic poet and Christian essayist defined “a complete and generous education” as one that prepares a person “to perform justly, skillfully, and magnanimously all the offices, both private and public, of peace and war.”
In other words, the liberal arts prepare people for anything. And everything.
By “a complete and generous education,” Milton really meant the liberal arts. He was advocating for an education that would liberate a young Christian mind by providing broad experience in math and science, language and the humanities. And when he spoke about “all the offices” of life, he was referring to the multiple callings of every Christian: son or daughter, father or mother, husband or wife, church member, citizen, soldier, worker, scholar.
Wheaton College alumni prove Milton’s philosophy of education every day by putting their liberal arts degrees to use in all kinds of callings, all over the world. Soon the students who are now on our campus will join them as missionaries and evangelists, writers and teachers, artists, scientists, and entrepreneurs.
Our commitment is to give each of these students the best Christ-centered liberal arts education that we possibly can.
We believe that Wheaton’s new curriculum—Christ at the Core—does exactly that. By laying a solid foundation in Bible and theology, exploring vocation in Christian perspective, and studying ten themes across the arts, sciences, and humanities, our students will prepare for a lifetime of kingdom service.
Christ at the Core represents a major new investment in Wheaton’s future. Over the last several years our faculty members have poured their collective energy into designing and teaching the new curriculum. Our partners and friends are making an investment, too: a financial investment. In order to offer smaller seminars and more interdisciplinary courses, we are using campaign funds to construct new classrooms and add new faculty lines to six of our academic departments. This is what it takes to provide the “generous education” that John Milton desired. It takes a college community that gives time, talent, and treasure to liberal arts learning—all of which is only made possible by the gracious gifts of a generous God.