"Universities may, indeed, make learned men; but their best commendation is given when it can be said of them, that furnishing the material and appliances of learning, setting the examples in their professors and graduates, breathing the spirit of scholarship in all that pertains to them, they inspire men, by the self-creative force of study and thought, to make themselves both learned and wise, and thus ready to put their hand to every great and good work..."
- Henry P. Tappan, University of Michigan President, 1852-1863
In the more than 150 years since the visionary President Henry P. Tappan wrote these words, the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts has worked to fulfill them, not just for the "men" who were the only students admitted in his day, but for all our students. The rich lives of our 150,000 alumni testify to our success. Our philosophy, over all these years, has been simple: combine outstanding students with world-class faculty and watch wonderful things happen. Our location - in the heart of one of the great research universities in the world - has been crucial. Only a handful of outstanding liberal arts colleges in America multiply their intellectual riches many fold by standing at the center of a great research university. LSA is one of them.
From the time of Tappan's presidency, the eyes of much of American higher education have looked to Michigan with a single question in mind: Can a public university also become a great university? The answer has proven to be an emphatic yes. Today, according to rankings issued by both U.S. News and World Report and the National Research Council, LSA has more than 70 departments, programs, and fields of study within departments and programs in the top 25 in the nation, including more than 40 in the top 10, and 25 in the top five. In addition, work centered in LSA has been ranked first in the nation for Undergraduate Research Opportunities (UROP), and its Undergraduate Learning/Living Communities are continually among the best in the country. It is on the basis of this nationally recognized excellence that we attract the very best faculty and students and it is also this excellence that ensures the very high value of an undergraduate or graduate degree from LSA.
The maintenance of this nationally recognized educational leadership over such a long period of time has required enormous effort from many groups of people working together: our dedicated faculty, wonderful students, hard-working staff, generous alumni, and far-sighted state political leaders and voters. Our hopes for the future rely on these same groups and so we pledge:
To our students, intellectual transformation that will guide their lives;
To our faculty, intellectual challenges that will spur them to the highest distinction;
To our staff, wide-ranging opportunities for training, growth, and success;
To our alumni, a life-long connection, a warm welcome always, and deep gratitude for much generosity;
To the citizens and leaders of the State of Michigan, who have supported us so strongly year in and year out, our promise to be the very best liberal arts college that we can be.
Working together, supporting and inspiring one another, we will, as Tappan put it, strive to become learned and wise, and thus surely be ready to put our hands to "every great and good work."
Terrence J. McDonald
Arthur F. Thurnau Professor,
Professor of History, and Dean
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