By Cole Schnieders, Staff Writer
I’ve often joked that I want to be the President of Newman; it’s truth in jest. Consider this article my application for the job.
I went to K-State as a Computer Science major - everything was state-of-the-art, new, and each teacher was keen to help me break into the workforce as soon as possible. From K-State, I transferred to Newman to be a seminarian. But when I discerned out and left seminary in spring 2019, I decided to stay at Newman, despite the costs and practically absurd choice of an English major.
It wasn’t because of cutting-edge facilities, or the tuition price, or even because I was pursuing a certain degree. It was because Newman was different from K-State.
Staff members, from custodians to heads of departments, would be happy to talk and help me if I ever needed anything. Professors would walk with me between classes when I had questions about what we had learned; they’d even invite me to come to their office for snacks and a moment to breathe.
I stayed because unlike K-State, Newman University understands that students are human. What do I mean?
I don’t mean that my classes are any easier, or I have less work than a student at a state college would have. Instead, teachers invite me to do work that isn’t just about getting an internship, finding a job, and climbing the corporate ladder at all costs. Instead, I’ve been taught how to find myself, to conquer my fears, to hone my strengths, and how, ultimately, to live a good life.
For students that aren’t in the humanities - the nurses, the pre-meds, the business majors - you’ve had these opportunities too. Newman is not like K-State, which tried to have you take the smallest amount of gen eds possible. Instead, Newman has gen eds, but it also has capstone classes, those lovely Newman Studies Program courses.
Between these two bookends of your college career, you’re given something no other student in the state gets: a chance to become more human by engaging with the greatest questions of human history: What is good? Am I good? Who am I? Why do I exist? Why do I suffer?
At a recent alumni event, Wine and Wisdom, I had the chance to talk to several alumni working as educators, in the medical field, and in the business world. Every single one of them told me they were most thankful that compared to everyone else in their field, they knew more than just the skills; they knew how to live well.
Colleges were not created to pump out worker drones as fast as possible. They were created for the spread of knowledge, the full education of human beings, and, yes, the tools needed to earn a living. Newman University does this and does it better than any other college in the state.
As president, I would lean into this degree of difference. We can’t compete with community colleges, vocational schools, and especially not state colleges. But we can distinguish ourselves in our strengths: our passionate faculty and staff, our powerful mission statement, and our desire to educate the whole person, not just train them to work.
And as always, GO JETS!
PHOTO: Courtesy Photo, visitwichita.com