I once sat in your seat, worrying about the choice you now face. I had done the homeschool years (K-9th), and the Christian classical school years (10th-12th). College loomed, and I had to choose. I visited schools in Tennessee, Pennsylvania, and Michigan, and I made my choice. Hillsdale College would be my home away from home for four years. Why Hillsdale? Why leave Virginia? My choice relied on many factors, but two are worth mentioning.
The first factor involved personal transformation. Even on a three day visit to Hillsdale, I caught a glimpse of the way students were shaped by their studies. I sat in Mark Kalthoff’s Western Heritage class and listened to the discussion: What constituted justice? How did justice shape Roman law? In what way does the law form justice within the city? These were questions I wanted to ponder. I met students steeped in the traditions of the West, and even on first impression I knew I wanted to become like them.
The other factor was financial. I wanted to go to a small, private, liberal arts college. My family is not wealthy, and we have a strong aversion to taking on debt. I decided Hillsdale College was the place for me, and, fortunately, Hillsdale made it financially possible for me to attend.
That was 2007. Since then, the collegiate landscape has worsened substantially. Between 2007 and 2019, the cost of collegiate education has only increased. It is more difficult to go a private college and earn enough money to pay as you go (it was not possible in 2007 either). While the cost of college has risen, the quality of the education has declined. The trifecta of critical theory is omnipresent: Instead of teaching Shakespeare and his complex views of human nature, the standard college English course saturates students in gender, race, and class theories that hamper the ability to read the Bard. At the same time, campus unrest has risen, leading to multiple instances nationwide of Behemoth University suffering from riots, strikes, and protest movements that disrupt learning.
You are probably tracking many of these movements, and they rightly concern you. The logic is clear and troubling. Why pay more money (or take on more debt) for an educational product/service which has decreased in value? The value in college is not in acquiring data; we have Google for this purpose. The information age puts more data at our fingertips than we could ever assimilate. Rather, the power of a collegiate education is in transforming you into a certain type of person: One who is broad minded, one who thinks carefully and deeply, one who communicates clearly, one who knows how to act in a given circumstance. College is about shaping you into a person who, when given the freedom of a US citizen in the 21st century, knows what to do with this freedom. There are a few traditional liberal arts colleges remaining: Hillsdale College, Wyoming Catholic College, Union University, Grove City College, Patrick Henry College. Each of these schools is prohibitively expensive without assuming student debt, but what if there was another choice? An innovatively traditional college that could pass on the transformative effect of college without requiring you to mortgage the first ten years of your professional salary?
Thales College is that choice. Combining the best of traditional liberal arts professorial education from around the country through contemporary technology with the close mentorship of faculty members, Thales College will be a unique educational community dedicated to the pursuit of the good, the true, and the beautiful within a liberal arts education. Faculty members will be scholars in the liberal arts disciplines of philosophy, history, literature, theology, economics and politics. This liberal arts component is the core, but surrounding this central purpose of human, freeing education is a practical awareness that the student should acquire real world work experience. Through the extensive business connections of our founder, Bob Luddy, Thales College will ensure that all graduates leave our campus with an impressive resume of professional experiences.
The current collegiate world says you must choose between two mutually exclusive options: Study topics that are irrelevant (literature, history, philosophy) or prepare for a marketplace career (sales, business, engineering). Thales College says both are necessary: We need engineers who know what it means to be human. We need businessmen who can read Plato, Kant, and Kierkegaard, businessmen who then develop business models based on sound philosophy.
In the Thales world, we have a certain conviction about choices: “Make it a great day, or not. The choice is yours” resounds throughout our students’ ears each day. When it comes to colleges, you have many choices. Make a wise choice. Because after all, the choice is yours.