Idea of a University by John Henry Newman: Is This Still True Today?

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In 1852 when John Henry Newman wrote his essay, “The Idea of a University,” he wanted to convey that a University’s purpose was to be able to educate first-rate members of the social order. Newman’s theory, although over a hundred years old, still applies to today’s college students; many are seeking higher educations to not only lead to successful careers, but to also become an improved person in society.

In a time when human endeavor was being redesigned, as industries, philosophies, and sciences were growing and affecting the world, Newman wrote an essay explaining the ideas and goals for seeking a liberal arts education. He states in his thesis that the function of such education, “is that of training good members …show more content…

With those characteristics, one also becomes a friend, a companion that everyone aspires to have by their side.

Today’s high school juniors and seniors apply to hundreds of college and universities a year, but why? What is the purpose of higher education in today’s world? Is it to obtain a degree in hopes of establishing a flourishing career, in order to make money and have a successful, content future? Is it to grow as an individual? On the other hand, is it for something as superficial as being able to attend the parties?
Young men and women choose to further their education with aspirations of achieving the American Dream. However, the American Dream is a vague outline of what everyone wants to be. It is someone who attains this who is an individual established in a thriving career, and has a loving and caring family. It is someone who is socially fit, who does not have to worry about financial troubles. A person who is a friend of many and disliked by few has come across this dream. Finally, the most significant factor to meeting this goal is that a person is pleased with the way life is.

After looking over the mission and vision statements for University of Minnesota, Morehouse College, Evergreen State College, California State University, Thomas Aquinas College, Duquesne University, Drexel University, and Robert Morris College, it seems that the colleges themselves are agreeing with the ideas of Newman.

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