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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

June 26, 2013 at 7:30 PM

Oh, the humanities

Humanities are a necessary part of education

I am an architect and a 1966 University of Washington graduate. In the 1960s, the UW required architecture students to take a wide variety of courses for our bachelor’s degree: English, literature, history, philosophy, a foreign language and the like, along with technical courses such as math, science and basic engineering. [“Column: Oh, the humanities,” Opinion, June 23.]

Why those nontechnical courses? To be well-rounded on both sides of the spectrum; and, as we were told, because architecture is a blend of art and technology.

Now, at the end of my career, I greatly appreciate that balance. I now see that’s true of most professions, whether one’s university taught that way or not.

Many of my fellow students were not happy with that balance: “Why do I need to take (world history, sociology, etc.)? I’m going to be an architect, not a (historian, sociologist, etc.)!”

Life, and making a living in a fulfilling profession, is much more than knowing technology. It’s living a full life, never-ending learning and communicating clearly and carefully. Most of all, it’s places to go, people to meet, and projects to do. Those engage us with humans and in the humanities of life.

Donald Gerards, Seattle

0 Comments | More in Education | Topics: education, humanities, students

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