The Purpose of a PC Education: A Call to Action from Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

by The Cowl Editor on October 24, 2019

Editor's Column

by Kerry Torpey ’20


While attending Morehouse College, Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., penned an article called “The Purpose of Education” for their student-run newspaper, the Maroon Tiger. “The function of education,” he said, “is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically…Intelligence plus character—that is the goal of true education.”

As students of Providence College, we have the opportunity to engage in challenging discussions, whether it be on United States-Middle East affairs or the current global environmental crisis. What is important, however, is to take these conversations off the page and outside the lecture hall and bring them into action, exchanging in dialogue with one another in person.

A liberal arts education encourages students to question their way of thinking—to look at the world from a new lens, unlike their own. Although we challenge ourselves in the classroom, it is important to appreciate our right to put our thoughts and words into action, to express ourselves in a realm of tolerance and mutual exchange that we create together.

For me, a prime example of this was my DWC colloquium with Dr. Jennifer Illuzzi and Dr. Dana Dillon called “Racism and Theologies of Liberation.” The texts we read and discussed that semester have had a lasting impact not only on me as a student, but as a person. Engaging in those tough but necessary conversations both in seminar and on campus exemplify the postive impact such conversations can have.

With the addition of resources like the Center of Inclusive Excellence at Moore Hall, the PC community has more opportunity than ever to spring into action. Whether you are a professor, student, or staff member, we all have the chance to make the most of it if we push ourselves to step outside our comfort zones and see the world from other perspectives.

By immersing ourselves into such a beloved community, we can continue to build our individual characters, both inside and outside the classroom. Challenging our minds and challenging our hearts: that is a true education.