Dr. Jim Purcell, Commissioner of Higher Education, explained that his purpose in encouraging the meeting was to focus on the Liberal Arts and its importance in a university education.
Purcell and the Board of Regents conceived the conference as a way to highlight the contributions of a liberal education to the preparation of students for the workplace and the critical need to support the liberal arts.
Presenters and participants addressed the value of a liberal arts education and its importance in the development of a well-educated workforce and citizenry.
In addition to remarks by Purcell and Dr. Gaines Foster, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Louisiana State University, and alumni with backgrounds in English, history, communication, languages, and political sciences, told their stories of how the education received in their liberal arts classes prepared them to pursue interesting and lucrative careers in web design, public relations, culinary arts, the film industry, and law enforcement.
Local business leaders emphasized the need for liberally educated graduates who have the critical thinking skills, writing and communication abilities, language training, and competency in written communication.
According to Smith, those in attendance were encouraged to work directly with business and industry to showcase the skills liberal arts students have to offer and find avenues for placing graduates.
They also urged participants to work with students who are currently pursuing studies in languages, history, English, communication and the social sciences to help students focus on how to market themselves in the workplace.