The Liberal Arts Changed My Life: True Stories from the Muhlenberg Community

Here are the winners in President Helm's contest. Encounter the alumni and other members of the Muhlenberg community whose stories dramatize how a liberal arts education transformed them.

Tue, 25 Nov 2014 15:48:00 EST

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President Randy Helm challenged the Muhlenberg College community to share the true stories of how their lives had been changed through an experience with liberal arts education.

"We were looking for stories about how a liberal arts education helped individuals learn something about themselves, their talents, their purpose in life, and how that experience has an important influence on what they do, how they do it, how they think, how they solve problems, and how they live," said Helm.

Over 100 entries were submitted for consideration, and 10 winners were announced. Below is the grand prize essay by Linda Abbey '76 as well as a video interview with additional winner Jessica Chicka '05. For a transcript of our other winning entries, visit the "My Story" page on the President's Office website.

Grand Prize Winner: Linda Abbey, Class of 1976

"When I started my medical career, I realized Muhlenberg science courses had prepared me very well for medical school and residency. As I look back on over 30 years of practice, I appreciate more and more the rest of my liberal arts education. We in medicine are privileged to be invited into the most intimate events of peoples’ lives: the euphoria of a baby's birth, the tragedy of a child’s death."

"Most days are busy with happenings not so momentous but still extraordinarily humanly diverse. When I am searching for meaningful words, I am likely to recall Shakespeare, Sophocles, or maybe Camus or Cervantes: creators of characters who express in unforgettable words what it means to be humans in relationship. Through the dramatic harmonies of musical genius or the expertly blended strokes of the master artists, those of us who see life’s intensities have a common thread."

Jessica Chicka, Class of 2005, shares her story: