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AGB Alert: Response by AGB President Richard D. Legon to the Washington Examiner Survey

Dec 1, 2017

The Washington Examiner misinterprets how college and university trustees view America’s future workforce needs (Survey: Career prep is not a top priority for college trustees, Nov. 23).  It is true that 22 percent of trustees in a recent survey by the Association of Governing Boards perceived career prep as higher education's single most important role, but greater numbers of trustees identified "producing graduates to lead meaningful lives" and "preparing graduates to be engaged citizens" as most important (39 and 29 percent respectively).

This sentiment is shared by leaders like Warren Buffett and Bill Gates, who are quoted later in an article cited by the author regarding the perception of millennials.  The real value of education is not just for a well-paying job in the short term, but for a rewarding life in the long term—as Buffett is quoted, “That’s how knowledge works. It builds up, like compound interest.”  

Graduates must be capable of leading meaningful lives that extend beyond post-graduation employment.  Trustees see the role of higher education as doing just that—providing knowledge that will accrue meaningfully to the individual, their community, and to society for decades after a diploma. Don’t we want such people—with high aspirations and clear-eyed candor—entrusted with governing our colleges and universities? 

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