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Securing America’s Future:

The Power of Liberal Arts Education

Dan Glaser

President and CEO, Marsh & McLennan Companies
Ohio Wesleyan University, Class of 1982
Dan Glaser is president and CEO of Marsh & McLennan Companies. He served as group president and chief operating officer of Marsh & McLennan Companies from April 2011 through December 2012, with strategic and operational oversight of both the risk and insurance services and the consulting segments of the company. Glaser rejoined Marsh as chair and CEO of Marsh Inc. in December 2007 after serving in senior positions in commercial insurance and insurance brokerage in the United States, Europe, and the Middle East. He began his career at Marsh 30 years ago.

Glaser is a former chair of BritishAmerican Business and serves on its international advisory board. He is a member of the board of directors of Insurance Information Institute, the board of trustees of the American Institute for Chartered Property Casualty Underwriters, and the board of trustees of Ohio Wesleyan University.

Glaser is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University. He completed the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School.
The most significant way that my liberal arts education better prepared me for life, both personally and professionally, is that it helped me develop and hone critical-thinking skills. It made me a questioner, a challenger, and a seeker. In today’s world, interdisciplinary thinking and lateral thinking are important skills. As a liberal arts student you might not learn a specific discipline, such as engineering or medicine, but your education will prepare you to ask questions.
 
My college experience was a very positive one. I enjoyed the small-college environment and the small class sizes. I benefited from the direct interaction and genuine interest on the part of faculty members, who also taught the classes.

My advice to high school students who are considering a liberal arts education is the same advice that I gave each of my three daughters at this stage: Don’t settle. Don’t think of college as vocational training for the rest of your life. Instead, take a risk and know that a broad course of study and a commitment to learning will serve you well.

The greatest graduation “gifts” that I am thankful for to this day are the foundation for lifelong learning that my educational experience gave me, along with the view to always strive for excellence. There are differences between getting an “A” and getting a “B.” In school and in life, you can do just well enough, or you can press a bit harder and come up with something that is exceptional.
 
My advice to high school students who are considering a liberal arts education is the same advice that I gave each of my three daughters at this stage: Don’t settle. Don’t think of college as vocational training for the rest of your life. Instead, take a risk and know that a broad course of study and a commitment to learning will serve you well. Most important, do what you have a passion for. If you don’t want to take archaeology, then don’t—but if you do take it, do well.
 
A liberal arts education makes you think, reflect, and form opinions. It’s a great preparation for business and for life.
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