President Roth Talks Higher Ed with Boger '73, P'06, P'09 and Schulman '82, P'11

July 20, 2016

On November 12, 2014, President Michael Roth joined Joshua Boger '73, P'06, P'09 – founder and CEO (Former) of Vertex Pharmaceuticals and chair of Wesleyan's Board of Trustees – and Amy Schulman '82, P'11 – CEO of Arsia Therapeutics, Venture Partner, Polaris Partners and Wesleyan Trustee – in Boston for a lively and provocative conversation about threats facing higher education. Alumni, family and friends attended.

The event, staged in the new Joshua Boger Auditorium at Vertex, was part of an ongoing series held around the country to bring President Roth together with prominent Wesleyan alumni for conversations about the value of liberal education — and current attacks on its relevance and worth.

Asked why liberal education matters in healthcare, Boger said, "In an age of instant information access, the core skills for the twenty-first century are information curation, critical analysis and cross-discipline integration. Increasingly, it is apparent that needed progress in complex fields like healthcare innovation requires balance and judgement across technical, social and political areas. A liberal arts education nurtures precisely this kind of broad and deep engagement in our most important human challenges."

Schulman offered her view: "Working in the healthcare ecosystem requires many of the core skills I learned at Wesleyan: how to be a thoughtful interlocutor on subjects I didn't completely own, how to respond with compassion and tact to issues that are freighted with complex moral and political perspectives and above all else the wonderful exhilarating experience (luxury or necessity) of witnessing great curious minds engaged in solving problems that matter."

President Roth's new book, Beyond the University: Why Liberal Education Matters (Yale University Press) is generating lots of excitement – on the radio, on television and in the op-ed columns of the nation's most important papers. Audiences around the country are hearing about the value of liberal education and associating that with Wesleyan. And that's not the only contribution the book is making to our university. All author royalties go entirely to financial aid.