In 1996 James Freedman published Idealism and Liberal Education, which discussed the ideals that shaped his life as an intellectual, a law professor, and a college and university president. In this new collection of essays, he convincingly explores his firm belief that a liberal education is the “surest instrument yet devised for developing those civilizing qualities of mind and character that enable men and women to lead satisfying lives and to make significant contributions to a democratic society.”

Freedman concentrates directly upon the problems facing university presidents and all university administrators. A passionate and beautifully written argument for the benefits of a liberal education, this book

“Every page of James Freedman’s Liberal Education and the Public Interest gleams with intelligence, passion, and an abiding belief in the potential of universities (and their presidents in particular) to reunite America with its highest ideals.”—Nicholas Lemann, author of The Promised Land and The Big Test
“In Liberal Education and the Public Interest, through a series of delightful and thought-provoking essays, James Freedman presents a fascinating view of the modern university presidency and its power to advocate for societal good. He challenges us to use our offices to defend higher education, to explain education’s centrality to democracy to an ever more skeptical public, to embrace the value of a liberal education, to take principled positions on issues of morality, and to inspire our students to change the world.”—Mary Sue Coleman, president, University of Iowa



1. Mounting the Public Stage

2. Defending Higher Education

3. Preserving Liberal Education

4. Celebrating Intellectuals

5. Appraising Significant Lives

6. Addressing Moral Questions

7. Conferring Honorary Degrees

Selected Bibliography


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152 pages,