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Office of News and Information
Johns Hopkins University
3400 N. Charles Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21218-2692
Phone: (410) 516-7160 / Fax (410) 516-5251

November 6, 1997
CONTACT: Leslie Rice

Hopkins Master of Liberal Arts Program Celebrates 35 Years

Most people enter a master's program to further their career, pursuing coursework in business, computer science or some other specialized degree. But for 35 years, a certain kind of person has pursued a celebrates the 35th anniversary of its Master in Liberal Arts degree at Johns Hopkins University -- with all the reading assignments and papers that come with it -- for one simple payoff, a true love of learning.

On Sunday, Nov. 16, from 2 to 5 p.m., The Johns Hopkins University Master of Liberal Arts program, a 30-credit degree designed for adults living and working in an increasingly specialized world. This is a program for people hungry to feed their intellects with knowledge of the great ideas of past and present Western and Eastern civilizations.

The 35th anniversary celebration includes a faculty panel discussion in tribute to the late Ralph Harper, a theologian, philosopher and dedicated teacher in the Hopkins M.L.A program. M.L.A. faculty will discuss Harper's provocative definition of man as "embodied freedom." A reception will follow the panel discussion.

The core of the Hopkins M.L.A program, offered through the School of Continuing Studies, is its "History of Ideas" seminars. Covering a range of subjects in the liberal arts, the seminars examine the impact of historical periods, movements, ideas and individuals. From there, students can specialize if they choose in four areas: Beliefs and Civilizations; Literature and the Arts; Contemporary Social and Political Issues; and Science, Technology and Ethics.

Since its start, 2,400 students have graduated from Hopkins M.L.A program. Some 200 are currently enrolled in the program, a diverse group who represent a wide range of ages, backgrounds and professions. Yet, says Nancy Norris, director of the program, most of the students are one of two types: Those who have reached a successful professional or personal plateau in life and have begun to feel a little intellectually flat. And there are those who are at a personal crossroad, in a divorce for example. Both are asking the perennial question, "Is this all there is to life?" Both, says Norris, are searching for meaning, a broader understanding of humanity and believe they can get a closer glimpse to all that by studying the works and impact of history's greatest thinkers.

Please call Leslie Rice at 410-516-7800 if you would like to interview any of the M.L.A. past or present students. Some are locally very well known, like Arnall Patz, M.D., former chairman Ophthalmology at Hopkins' School of Medicine and former director of its Wilmer Eye Clinic, former State Senator Julian Lapides and Kweisi Mfume, president of the NAACP. Other students, whether they are retired, a computer analyst, an administrative assistant or a lawyer, may be less well known but have wonderful stories to share about their experiences in the M.L.A. program.

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