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Museum, Theatre and Studio Arts Facilities

If you are interested in making a gift to support the new arts facilities, please contact Lori Dennison '87

The ‘Arts’ in Liberal Arts

Against the contemporary rush to turn colleges and universities into vocational training grounds, Hamilton remains a beacon of the liberal arts and their supporting philosophy. The best students are drawn by the College's emphasis on intellectual rigor, writing, speaking and research in the pursuit of broad knowledge.

A liberal arts education prepares us not only for professional life, but also for a deep engagement with the world and a lifelong love of learning. Hamilton, we like to say, is where one learns not what to think, but how to think.

The "arts" in the liberal arts have changed over time, however, and they continue to evolve. The disciplines of the studio arts, theatre and critical engagement with the arts have become cornerstones of a broad liberal arts education:

  • "Visual literacy" and performance are assuming greater pedagogical importance in a multimedia-based 21st century, in much the way that oratorical skills did in the 19th and writing skills did in the 20th century.
  • Hamilton's present reputation and legacy rest in part on its foresight in responding to those earlier academic needs. Future generations may similarly measure Hamilton by its commitment to the arts, multimedia technology and the education of the imagination in this era.
  • That commitment requires facilities that fully serve the arts curriculum, attract the best students and help Hamilton continue to hire and retain extraordinary teachers.

What doesn't change? The mission of the liberal arts: to educate the whole individual through rigorous technical instruction, careful critical analysis, the exploration of history and theory, and the thoughtful pursuit of personal creativity.

Each of these ends is served by broad training in the arts themselves.