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Who Studies the Liberal Arts?


Liberal arts grads come from all parts of the country, from cities and small towns, from families of varying economic backgrounds, and from different racial, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds—even from different countries. 

They use their degrees in all kinds of professions—business, entertainment, government, law, medicine, research, teaching, and many more. Name a career, and a liberal arts grad has done it. They’re also creative innovators, busy carving out the careers of tomorrow.

Hover over and click through to the testimonials below and see the rewards liberal arts grads have reaped from their undergraduate experience, both professionally and personally. You also can search to read about different careers that interest you by using the search box below.

View only graduates with videos.

  • Charise Flynn

    Charise Flynn

    Chief Operations Officer, Dwolla
    Simpson College (IA), Class of 2004
    I never dreamt that I would be where I am today as the COO of a payments company, but I genuinely believe that my liberal arts education set me up for success by encouraging me to question the world around me and showing me that I could make a difference.
  • Jason Kozemczak

    Jason Kozemczak

    Software Engineer, Twitter
    Greenville College (IL), Class of 2007
    My goal is to enrich, improve, and empower humanity, be it through the technology I help build or the personal relationships I make. My liberal arts education will continue to help me accomplish that goal.
  • Pilar Ramirez

    Pilar Ramirez

    Founder and President, Confie Holding SL
    College of New Rochelle (NY), Class of 1972
    My college experience, from the first day, became one of constant discovery about myself, the world we live in, and how one can use one’s education to work for changes that improve the lives of others.
  • Katie Paysinger

    Katie Paysinger

    Associate Producer, So You Think You Can Dance
    Linfield College (OR), Class of 2011
    The support system of lifelong friendships that I established at Linfield has pushed me to be more ambitious than I could have hoped.
  • Chad Buchanan

    Chad Buchanan

    Assistant General Manager, Charlotte Hornets
    Simpson College (IA), Class of 1995
    The ability to connect and communicate with people of diverse backgrounds is critical to succeeding in professional basketball. The professors, coaches, and staff at Simpson College helped mold these skills that I continue to use on a daily basis.
  • David M. Gallegos

    David M. Gallegos

    New Mexico State Legislature Representative
    University of the Southwest (NM), Class of 1990
    Now that I am a state legislator, I’m able to use the broad experiences that I learned at a liberal arts college to help in decision-making that propels our state forward.
  • Esther Mackintosh

    Esther Mackintosh

    President of the Federation of State Humanities Councils
    Morningside College (IA), Class of 1969
    The interaction with professors that was possible for me at a liberal arts college helped advance my thinking and modeled for me a way of dealing with others in a professional situation.
  • Cynthia “Cindy” E. Stinger

    Cynthia “Cindy” E. Stinger

    Manager of Alumni Relations for the United States Olympic Committee
    Davis & Elkins College (WV), Class of 1981
    My liberal arts education instilled in me a confidence that has served me well and helped me build my leadership skills.
  • Larry D. Roper

    Larry D. Roper

    Professor, School of Language, Culture, and Society, Oregon State University
    Heidelberg University (OH), Class of 1975
    The small classes, the expectation of intellectual engagement, and the scholarly mentoring kindled within me an appreciation for the liberal arts and an intellectual curiosity that I had no idea I possessed.
  • Joseph P. Clayton

    Joseph P. Clayton

    President and CEO of DISH Network
    Bellarmine University (KY), Class of 1971
    International businessmen and women must discuss topics that impact the entire world, and being well-versed in art history, foreign languages, and an appreciation for other cultures is critically important.
  • Bill Kling

    Bill Kling

    President Emeritus, American Public Media Group
    Saint John’s University (MN), Class of 1964
    The residential community of students, faculty, and even the highest level administrators were interested in me, on a personal level, and that made an enormous difference.
  • S. Aaron Marks

    S. Aaron Marks

    Dentist, Marks Family Dentistry
    Hampden-Sydney College (VA), Class of 1998
    Today, my liberal arts education has become critical to me as a small business owner...I wear many different hats throughout the day, and I must pull from many different areas to help run our family business.
  • Alison Matas

    Alison Matas

    Reporter, The (Canton) Repository
    Marietta College (OH), Class of 2010
    The administrators and faculty at Marietta understood I wasn’t attending college simply to pursue a career, but also to develop my interests and talents. They worked to teach the whole person, not just the journalist I would become.
  • Michael Williams

    Michael Williams

    Assistant Professor of Physics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    Saint Vincent College (PA), Class of 2001
    The science and mathematics courses I took at Saint Vincent College prepared me for graduate school, and many of my non-science courses have helped me in my chosen career as a physicist as well.
  • Theressa J. Wright

    Theressa J. Wright

    Senior Medical Director for Early Phase Medicine, Eli Lilly and Co.
    Franklin College (IN), Class of 1972
    My liberal arts education from Franklin College paved the way for me to sustain and ultimately become a physician and travel the world as a contributor to the global medical community.
  • Wilson Paine

    Wilson Paine

    Program Analyst, Appalachian Regional Commission
    Ferrum College (VA), Class of 2007
    A private, liberal arts college tucked away in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Ferrum serves as an incubator for new ideas and offers its students opportunities to be at the doorstep of an ever-changing, global world.
  • Kelly Sofka

    Kelly Sofka

    Investment Consultant, MassMutual Financial Group
    Bethany College (WV), Class of 2010
    The core fundamentals of finance and economics I studied at Bethany in a comfortable, small class size environment are ones I still use to this day when developing market views and trade recommendations.
  • David C. Hilmers

    David C. Hilmers

    Associate Professor of Internal Medicine and Former NASA Astronaut
    Cornell College (IA), Class of 1972
    Never before or since have I felt such autonomy to explore, to become a leader, to think independently, and importantly, to work as part of a team.
  • Edwin Keh

    Edwin Keh

    CEO, Hong Kong Research Institute of Textile and Apparel
    Whittier College (CA), Class of 1979

    Because of patient and caring professors in a small college environment, I was able eventually to excel in my studies, to develop a love for learning, and to experience a new world of possibilities.

  • Kaysie Uniacke

    Kaysie Uniacke

    Advisory Director, Goldman Sachs Asset Management
    Gettysburg College (PA), Class of 1983
    A liberal arts education exposes us to a world that has become increasingly global and teaches us how to interact with, collaborate with, and appreciate individuals and societies from around the world.
  • Warren Winiarski

    Warren Winiarski

    Celebrated Winemaker
    St. John’s College (MD), Class of 1952
    With the resources provided by this kind of learning, I was enabled, maybe even compelled, to innovate beyond the methods and practices which were, for the most part, current at the time.
  • Angela Devine

    Angela Devine

    Research Assistant in Economic Modeling, University of Oxford
    University of Evansville (IN), Class of 2006
    It was a blessing to be in such a supportive environment while exploring my options, and to know that the classes I was taking would count toward my degree even though I hadn’t yet picked my major.
  • Peter Savage

    Peter Savage

    Foreign Affairs Specialist, U.S. Department of Defense
    Houghton College (NY), Class of 2010
    My liberal arts education serves as the foundation for a job that alternates between the technical and the strategic.
  • Robert Gavin

    Robert Gavin

    Former College President, Macalester College
    St. John’s University (MN), Class of 1962
    The current football players talked a bit about the team, but mostly about their courses and majors... Athletics was important, but you would be there to get an education.
  • Julie Mehretu

    Julie Mehretu

    Artist and MacArthur “Genius Grant” Recipient
    Kalamazoo College (MI), Class of 1992
    The liberal arts experience gives you the opportunity to learn, to fail, to succeed, to really find out who you are.
  • Jessica Hayes

    Jessica Hayes

    Analyst, Law Enforcement
    Centenary College of Louisiana, Class of 2005
    As a young alumna, I look back in awe and with great appreciation for what I have been able to do and accomplish in such a short time. Peace Corps. Graduate school degree. Employment in the career field of my choice. All are a result of my liberal arts education.
  • Stephen J. Forman

    Stephen J. Forman

    Oncologist, City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center
    St. John’s College (MD), Class of 1970
    I am frequently asked how I came to choose oncology as a profession, and my answer is often that it is the most philosophical of the medical specialties, forcing me to confront questions that are most important in our life and in our relationships with each other.
  • Kathleen Reddy-Smith

    Kathleen Reddy-Smith

    Former U.S. Foreign Service Officer; Leader-in-Residence, Marietta College
    Marietta College (OH), Class of 1971
    I told [my advisor] of my dream to join the Foreign Service, and he empowered that dream by designing a custom-made foreign affairs degree, combining economics, history, political science, foreign language, and psychology.
  • Phelosha Collaros

    Phelosha Collaros

    Director, ASRT Foundation
    St. John’s College (NM), Class of 2000
    Job training...gives you the skills to be competent in your daily tasks and responsibilities—to meet the basic expectations of your current employer. An education, though, should be about tomorrow, when the jobs of today are replaced by what we can't even imagine yet.
  • Thomas G. Keens

    Thomas G. Keens

    Professor of Pediatrics, University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine
    St. John’s College (NM), Class of 1968
    “Active learning” has only recently come into the vocabulary of medical education. As a liberal arts graduate, I participated in “active learning” from the first day I stepped onto my college campus.
  • Primal de Lanerolle

    Primal de Lanerolle

    Professor of Physiology, College of Medicine, University of Illinois at Chicago; President, Milpitas Montessori School
    Whitworth University (WA), Class of 1968
    My liberal arts education, rather than preparing me for a specific career, gave me the tools to be successful at virtually any career.
  • Tahllee Baynard

    Tahllee Baynard

    Research Science Manager, Lockheed Martin
    Cornell College (IA), Class of 1997
    I initially thought I was going to college to study science and mathematics. Instead, I ended up developing the much broader combination of knowledge, skills, and perspective required for success in today’s world.
  • Richard DesLauriers

    Richard DesLauriers

    Vice President of Corporate Security, Penske Corporation; Former Special Agent in Charge, FBI Boston Division
    Assumption College (MA), Class of 1982
    My liberal arts education permitted me to pursue a career in federal law enforcement with the FBI—a career choice I’ve never, ever regretted. At Assumption, I was furnished with three key skills that have proven vital to my success as an FBI agent.
  • Steven Yeun

    Steven Yeun

    Actor, The Walking Dead
    Kalamazoo College (MI), Class of 2005
    I was surrounded by an eclectic mix of peers who pushed me and exposed me to experience so many different cultures and ideologies. It was a true coming-of-age college experience.
  • Azure Bowie-Hankins

    Azure Bowie-Hankins

    Videogame Producer, Electronic Arts
    Mills College (CA), Class of 2007
    In my sophomore year, I suffered an injury and had to rethink my major. The structure of Mills’ liberal arts program gave me the opportunity to take classes outside of my field, and I discovered an appreciation for economics.
  • Jascha Kaykas-Wolff

    Jascha Kaykas-Wolff

    Chief Marketing Officer, BitTorrent
    Whittier College (CA), Class of 1998
    When you're in an environment like a liberal arts school, the opportunity is to learn how to ask great questions, to seek curiosity, and ultimately help you learn. To be able to construct a great question—to help uncover something that is going to be a meaningful addition to your life—is unique to the way liberal arts schools are run.
  • Deborah Platt Majoras

    Deborah Platt Majoras

    Chief Legal Officer and Secretary, The Procter & Gamble Company
    Westminster College (PA), Class of 1985
    My liberal arts education did not prepare me for one particular job or profession; it prepared me for any that I would choose once I truly found my passion.
  • Tim Kaiser

    Tim Kaiser

    Executive Producer, Seinfeld, Will & Grace, and 2 Broke Girls
    Westminster College (PA), Class of 1985
    I have interviewed and hired hundreds of new college graduates, and have concluded that those who are the best thinkers and problem solvers are the most well-rounded. Those who are best able to deal with the wide variety of demands of the entertainment industry undoubtedly have a background in liberal arts.
  • Katie Falkenberg

    Katie Falkenberg

    Staff Photographer, Los Angeles Times
    Warren Wilson College (NC), Class of 2003
    By being able to enroll in such a wide range of classes, I was exposed to an incredible amount of knowledge and topics, and it made me more curious about the world around me. This has helped me immensely in my job as a photojournalist.
  • John McHugh

    John McHugh

    Secretary of the United States Army
    Utica College (NY), Class of 1970
    From small classrooms that created an intimate learning environment to the support and mentorship of inspired administrators, caring staff, good teachers, and motivated faculty, Utica College provided more than a degree—it provided me with knowledge, purpose, and a sense of civic responsibility.
  • Alan Novak

    Alan Novak

    President, Novak Strategic Advisors
    Ursinus College (PA), Class of 1971
    I think a liberal arts education is perfect because the liberal arts prepare you for all the different things that can come in life. [And] speaking, leadership, personal interaction, and teamwork skills are best developed in a liberal arts setting.
  • Michelle “Chelle” McIntyre-Brewer

    Michelle “Chelle” McIntyre-Brewer

    Founder, Soldier’s List
    Susquehanna University (PA), Class of 2001
    Few people know exactly what they want to do with their lives as they set out to find an institution of higher learning. That is what makes a liberal arts education so appealing: Regardless of the major one achieves, a well-balanced and in-depth education occurs.
  • Baktash Ahadi

    Baktash Ahadi

    Former Advisor, Mentor, and Translator for the U.S. Special Operations Task Force in Afghanistan
    Susquehanna University (PA), Class of 2005
    It is no surprise that many liberal arts graduates can be found disproportionately in leadership positions in politics, culture, and the economy. This is the case in Washington, DC, where I have established my personal and professional network.
  • Matt Wuerker

    Matt Wuerker

    Political Cartoonist, Politico
    Lewis & Clark College (OR), Class of 1979
    What sets a liberal arts education apart from the standard college experience is that it’s not a fixed narrow track but one that lets you find your individual path. A path that touches on so many different things that your mind gets cross-pollinated in surprising and expansive ways.
  • Allison “Alli” Baugher

    Allison “Alli” Baugher

    Spanish Teacher
    Susquehanna University (PA), Class of 2008
    I am a product of a liberal arts education, and the greatest advice I can give my students is not to seek a college or university that merely focuses on career goals, but to seek knowledge and explore all of the “unturned rocks” so that they discover where their passions lie and what their career goals should be.
  • Dzifa Yador

    Dzifa Yador

    Production Manager, MTV Networks/Viacom
    St. Lawrence University (NY), Class of 2011
    I would encourage all parents of high school students to really take a moment and explore all that a liberal arts education has to offer.
  • Richard P. Marrs

    Richard P. Marrs

    Managing Partner, California Fertility Partners
    Schreiner University (TX), Class of 1968
    Even after almost 40 years in medicine, I still question our level of knowledge and look for answers to the mysteries of human function in our area of medicine. This quest for knowledge started with my liberal arts experience at Schreiner University and continues today.
  • Mary Elizabeth Ulliman

    Mary Elizabeth Ulliman

    Account Manager, Google
    Saint Mary's College (IN), Class of 2010
    I use my liberal arts education every day. My managers are consistently impressed with my confidence, my ability to adapt, and my appreciation for different kinds of knowledge and viewpoints.
  • Hollye Jacobs

    Hollye Jacobs

    Author, Speaker, Nurse, Social Worker, and Child Development Specialist
    Saint Mary's College (IN), Class of 1993
    Though I didn’t know it at the time, my liberal arts education at Saint Mary’s College meticulously and intentionally laid the foundation for each step of my circuitous personal and professional life, from philanthropy to sales and communications, to health care.
  • Richard North Patterson

    Richard North Patterson

    Author
    Ohio Wesleyan University, Class of 1968
    Even within the parameters of one’s career, in this ever-changing environment, the ability to think broadly and creatively—the essence of liberal arts—is fundamental to professional success.
  • Gregory L. Moore

    Gregory L. Moore

    Editor in Chief, Denver Post
    Ohio Wesleyan University, Class of 1976
    I found my career at Ohio Wesleyan, and I am certain I would not be the top editor of a major U.S. newspaper had I not gone there.
  • Dan Glaser

    Dan Glaser

    President and CEO, Marsh & McLennan Companies
    Ohio Wesleyan University, Class of 1982
    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.
  • Kara J. Trott

    Kara J. Trott

    Founder and CEO, Quantum Health
    Ohio Wesleyan University, Class of 1983
    I find myself drawing upon my liberal arts experience where I first learned to think critically—and that alone has paid huge dividends throughout my professional career and in my interactions outside the workplace.
  • Paula Hayes

    Paula Hayes

    Founder and President of Hue Noir
    Lewis & Clark College (OR), Class of 1992
    Fortunately, my liberal arts education at Lewis & Clark has equipped me with the flexibility, adaptability, and ability to “think on my feet” and find ways to come out ahead when Plan A is no longer an option and I need Plan B, or C, or D.
  • Naomi Pomeroy

    Naomi Pomeroy

    Chef and Restaurant Owner
    Lewis & Clark College (OR), Class of 1997
    At the end of the day, our college experiences are what we make of them. I chose one of spontaneity, adventure, and discipline, and it informs my passion and dedication to my work every day. I am so grateful that I chose to get a liberal arts education.
  • Isaac Holeman

    Isaac Holeman

    Cofounder, Medic Mobile
    Lewis & Clark College (OR), Class of 2009
    The kind of education suited to a life of innovation is less about imparting facts…and more about the way you see the world.
  • Kathryn McKeller

    Kathryn McKeller

    Opera Singer and Performing Artist
    Hollins University (VA), Class of 2005
    The curiosity and versatility that I gained at Hollins are things that I use every day as a performing artist.
  • Mary Ellen Smith Glasgow

    Mary Ellen Smith Glasgow

    Dean and Professor, Duquesne University
    Gwynedd Mercy University (PA), Class of 1983
    No one knows what the future will hold, but a liberal arts foundation is wonderful preparation to respond to a broad spectrum of societal needs and serve one’s profession and community irrespective of one’s discipline.
  • Linda Marshall

    Linda Marshall

    President, WebLyn Group
    Elmhurst College (IL), Class of 1985
    As a student, I was completely focused on business and accounting, and I didn’t see the relevance of humanities-related courses. I realize now that those courses, as well as the service projects in which we participated, awakened me to the world beyond my own, and to my responsibility to make a difference there.
  • Bernadette Coutain Plair

    Bernadette Coutain Plair

    Research Scientist; Founder and Director of the Centre for the Rescue of Endangered Species of Trinidad and Tobago
    College of Mount St. Joseph (OH), Class of 1967
    Although a biology major, I also took courses in philosophy, theology, ethics, music, and art history among others. I not only enjoyed my learning experience but developed the ability to think critically, make sound judgments, and awaken my creative imagination.
  • Timothy M. Savage

    Timothy M. Savage

    Flight Instructor
    College of Mount St. Joseph (OH), Class of 1991
    The value of the small liberal arts school became clear from the beginning of my higher education experience. I started at a very large state university. After a year and a half, I felt no closer to the goal of graduation. When I saw an opportunity to transfer, I jumped at the chance.
  • Ron Kirk

    Ron Kirk

    Senior of Counsel, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher; Former U.S. Trade Representative; Former Mayor of Dallas; Former Secretary of State of Texas
    Austin College (TX), Class of 1976
    What employers are looking for are bright, energetic people who have the ability to adapt. And I don’t think anything prepares you and gives you the skills to do that better than a liberal arts education.
  • Angela S. Earley

    Angela S. Earley

    Captain, Medical Corps, United States Navy; Surgical Residency Program Director, Naval Medical Center
    College of Mount St. Joseph (OH), Class of 1991
    Four years of undergraduate study at a small liberal arts school provided the solid foundation on which to build my additional 11 years of medical training and education.
  • Edward R. Collins

    Edward R. Collins

    Founding Partner and Wealth Advisor, Artisan Wealth Management, LLC
    Caldwell College (NJ), Class of 1998
    In my career in financial services, the research skills I honed in my history courses and the in-depth understanding of behavior I gained in my psychology course have been invaluable to me.
  • Dana R. Wright

    Dana R. Wright

    First Deputy Chief of Police, Cook County Sheriff’s Office (IL); Executive/Leadership Coach and Business Owner, Wright Vision Consulting, LLC
    Benedictine University (IL), Class of 2010
    My liberal arts education allowed me to explore and see things from many angles; it allowed me to be creative and stretch my limits.
  • Walter B. Jones, Jr.

    Walter B. Jones, Jr.

    U.S. Representative for North Carolina; Senior Member of the House Committee on Armed Services
    Barton College (NC), Class of 1967
    In Congress and in my personal life, a liberal arts curriculum has taught me to use independent judgment, to think critically, and to decide issues in an ethical way.
  • Annis Ward Jackson

    Annis Ward Jackson

    Author of murder mysteries, historical fiction, and non-fiction
    Barton College (NC), Class of 1987
    Although earning a degree was satisfying, benefits that I had not foreseen were even more fulfilling: a heightened awareness of the world outside family, friends, and community; a connection with the past through the study of ancient literature and philosophy; and a sense of continuity to the future.
  • Kiki McLean

    Kiki McLean

    Counsel, Porter Novelli
    Austin College (TX), Class of 1985
    From my college education, I learned how to defend a controversial point of view. It prepared me to land in a new city ready to meet new challenges rather than collapse in fear of potential obstacles.
  • Will Radke

    Will Radke

    Associate, Goldman Sachs Realty Japan, Ltd.
    Austin College (TX), Class of 2008
    Much as our knowledge continues to fuel the specialization of industries and careers, the ability to adapt and pivot will define those who can retool their generalized knowledge and skills.
  • Terra Teague Hess

    Terra Teague Hess

    Retail Industry Analyst, Google
    Alma College (MI), Class of 2008
    Although your chosen field of study is important, thinking beyond it can give you a more realistic and respected view of the world—all the while making you a more well-rounded person.
  • Sara E. Wycoff

    Sara E. Wycoff

    Strategic Advisor, Executive Office of Michigan Governor Rick Snyder
    Albion College (MI), Class of 2008

    My varied skill set has prepared me with transferable skills for an ever-changing economy. As a result, I’m confident that I won’t become bored like some of my peers who find their taste for their work dulled after years of the same.

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