What Graduates Say
Humanistic Studies/Christian Culture majors have been among the most accomplished graduates of Saint Mary's College; they have also been very loyal to the department. Over the years, they have offered a number of inspiring tributes to the Program, offering testimony to its long-term impact upon their lives.
Professors Mandell, Shinners, Hicks, and Schlesinger (what a wonderful crew). I find myself eternally grateful for the incredible education I received through the Humanistic Studies department. What did I learn? I learned that a friend and a guide can always be found in literature. I learned to trust my heart to guide me along the path and to use my head to find the next step. I learned how to connect and interweave ideas that seemed extravagantly different. I came to understand the value of intellectual dialogue and companionship as opposed to intellectual denigration and competition. In my life path I have translated these lessons so often into internal guidance, philosophical discussions, popular education, whimsical visions, blunt reality, and realized dreams. I do feel enormous gratitude for the compassionate shepherding you offered to my developing mind and heart. My years with you fostered my Courage, Confidence, and Strength. Jayne Ader '92 (4/04)
You professors have influenced me in so many ways. I cannot begin to express my gratitude for those formidable years in the HUST department. Megan Keleher '02 (4/04)
My time in Humanistic Studies has been wonderful. I have enjoyed every class that I have taken. Both the joys and the challenges that come with this major have been important parts of my life. The history I have studied and the lessons I have learned, whether Medieval, Renaissance, Enlightenment, or Modern, will stay with me for the rest of my life. Becki Hanson '05 (2/04)
A day does not go by when I do not think about my experiences as a Humanistic Studies major and their effect on my life. I miss our discussions profoundly, even more so now that I am getting my Masters in English at a local state university. I did not realize how much depth and substance our classes in HUST allowed us to explore until I started comparing them to the graduate classes I have now. There is no comparison. Laura Lechman '97 (11/03)
It's like a small family. It really is. When we returned from summer vacation, it was like we were coming back home. Katy Docter '04 (9/03)
I want to thank you all for sending me on my way with such a marvelous background. Honestly, Kelly McGannon and I agree that even Yale Divinity School does not surpass the education and experiences we found at Saint Mary's in the Humanistic Studies Department. We are both very glad, very proud to have studied with you three tremendous professors, and to have graduated from HUST. All those papers and all that reading have paid off! Anne Napoli '94 (5/01)
I just wanted to say that I have been thinking of you HUST professors lately because I have been completing a lot of complicated writing projects under a bit of time pressure. I can't explain how grateful I am that the HUST major concentrates so much on developing writing, analysis, and organization skills! I believe that my college writing experience taught me much more than my law school classes were able to provide. Karyn E. Connolly '97 (3/01)
Humanistic Studies is like having a minor in every subject such as English, History, Philosophy, Religious Studies, Political Science, and Art History. It brings together all of the elements of life; it fits all the pieces of the puzzle together. Angie Little Berg '00 (5/00)
When people from SMC (alums) would assure me HUST was a great pre-law major, I took their word for it but never understood why it was good. Many aspects of HUST are proving to be helpful -- reading and analyzing seemingly confusing material, expressing opinions in class, and organizing a logical argument. All things we did in HUST. Katie Clancy '95 (8/95)
(Note: These are very brief excerpts from the book of recollections compiled in the spring of 1997).
My time spent as a Humanistic Studies major has helped me look at situations from various viewpoints. During my time as a medical student and now as a pediatric resident, I am better able to view patients as people and not just as a disease entity. It has also helped me to keep the events in my life in perspective and remember that there is more to life than just work. -Antoinette M. Hubble M.D. '84
I suppose what I gained the most from you is a depth of understanding--of the world, of faith, intellect, history, politics, art and even of myself. No matter how confusing the world appears I am never wholly lost since I can always see the connection to the past, the circle of repeated triumphs, tragedies, successes, and mistakes that is somehow comforting because hope and faith are always there. I learned that when one thinks carefully, life can be full of right choices, beautiful experiences, incredible people, endless stacks of good books, and very few dull moments. Because of you I am still in a Book Discussion Group. Because of you, I get the occasional Jeopardy question right. Because of you, my Master's Degree was easy. And because of you, I know that a woman can live a full life of the mind, heart and soul. I am forever grateful. -Ann DeWitt O'Keefe '83
Humanistic Studies, and Bruno Schlesinger via Christopher Dawson, taught, insisted and demonstrated that everything has context. No event occurs in isolation; no person lives in isolation. the unavoidable corollary of context is interconnectedness, another lesson of the program. Long before "multiculturalism" became a buzz word, Humanistic Studies imparted an appreciation for the may ways that people express their culture, and the transcending importance of differences, the warming affirmation of identity. The program introduced me to my own world, to come of the worlds beyond my era and my geography, to the worlds that one day might be. It taught me not to be afraid to be an amateur. -Paula Lawton Bevington '58
I carry the mental tools that HUST provided around with me in my back pocket. They are as much a part of my identity as my name or driver's license. While developing an understanding of the development of Western culture, my Humanistic Studies trained me to use my intellect like a microscope. First look at eras and events through a wide-angle lens. Then narrow the focus down to specifics. Look for links between the parts of the whole. Search for roots to the past and connections to the future. Find and appreciate the thoughts in an era's music, art, literature, and definition of man. Know the heroes of the time that helped define the character of mankind. Sir Thomas More is the principle figure that always comes to mind. -Diane Trial Poston '67
The friends I made through my major are my closest friends today. A couple of them even helped me to start up my own business. We had a study group in college for Humanistic Studies. I laugh to myself every time I think of Mary Ellen Kneen and Jackie Schmizzi vividly acting out works of art such as Delacroix's "Liberty Leading the People" and Manet's "David." -Judie Moore Green '74
("we must cultivate our own garden" - Candide) Humanistic Studies fertilized my mind. When I graduated I had all the tools necessary to become whoever I wanted to become and to do whatever I wanted to do. And so began my discovery and cultivation... -Colleen Feeley '93
We would be in the "new" classroom in our vibrant blue and orange chairs, discussing ideas, expanding how we analyzed questions, problems. Our study was not memorization of cold facts, but one of the how and why our civilization evolved. We were learning to think. -Patricia McCusker Allgood '70
I urge you underclasswomen, especially, to consider HUST as a major or to compliment a major you are already pursuing. The skills you'll acquire and sharpen are invaluable. And the peers and professors you come to know and respect are beyond reproach. And when people ask you what you will be doing with a HUST major upon graduation, you can tell them, "Anything I want." HUST can take you anywhere. -From the Observer March 29, 1996: Patti Carson '97
I think fondly of my years at Saint Mary's in the Humanistic Studies program and regard them as one of the "critical moments" in my life. Little did I know, sitting in that classroom, that what I was learning would be so valuable in my life as a business person, mother and community volunteer. -Judith Imhoff '72
We became lawyers, teachers, journalists, writers, business women, volunteers, wives and mothers. We influenced our church, our schools and our communities. Our daughters inherited our love for Saint Mary's.
Did we know all of this in 1956? Of course not. We only knew that a dedicated professor with an established reputation and a vision was calling us to an innovative major. -Jody Vetter Olson '58
And even now that I am out of the environment of the department, I still find myself applying much of what I learned as a student. Only now am I fully realizing that Humanistic Studies is a major that can only be completed in a lifetime, not a few semesters. -Eileen Davenport, '96