Fort Lewis College transitions from liberal arts school to vo-tech

Google “Fort Lewis College,” and this is what you get: “A liberal arts college in Colorado.” It goes on in a welcome statement: “Fort Lewis College is a selective public liberal arts college in Colorado that launches careers and changes lives through a compelling educational experience that features nationally recognized academic programs, extraordinary personal attention from faculty, the freedom of intellectual exploration, and once-in-a-lifetime experiential learning opportunities.”

Mallory Russo’s letter to the editor (Herald, March 23) laments the abandonment of the liberal arts mission at FLC.

Surely, the current administration, with the blessings of the Board of Trustees, is not quietly dismantling the School of Arts and Humanities. Certainly, this administration cares about “changing lives” and supporting “freedom of intellectual exploration” and “experiential learning opportunities” as the FLC welcome statement suggests.

The new president and provost, although not from Durango, have undoubtedly researched how this college reflects this community’s identity; how socially, culturally and economically interconnected the Durango community and the college are; and the level of pride we Durangoans have in our four-year liberal arts college.

An FLC advertisement in the Herald, ironically adjacent to Russo’s letter, features preparing for a “career in accounting, business, education, engineering, graphic design, health, psychology or social services.” This says it all. No mention of music careers in a town that proudly supports the San Juan Symphony, the Choral Society, the Community Concert Hall and Music in the Mountains? No mention of the arts in a town that proudly promotes local artists and performers who work in all media? No mention of creative writing in an area that touts its nationally recognized southwestern authors? No mention of language arts, despite the trend of global interdependence? Really?

I guess Durango has decided its legacy is the transformation of FLC from a “selective public liberal arts college” to just another vo-tech training school. Maybe Durango is too small, rural and parochial to support the broader mission of a liberal arts college and community.

Debbie Meyers