Five years before I arrived here in the Communications Division, my son chose to attend Lafayette over another very fine liberal arts college. As a high school student, he was bright, and his academic performance showed it, but he was interested as much in hanging out as in studying. At Lafayette, Daniel Massa ’08 underwent a transformation, helped most especially by his adviser, chemistry professor Bill Miles, who invited him to apply to the EXCEL Scholars program, and by Joe Sherma and Bernie Fried, now professors emeriti, in their labs. These great professor-mentors helped Dan develop a passion for solving problems, working with others in cross-disciplinary teams, and writing his observations for publication in professional journals. Dan also experienced choral and a capella music, club volleyball, and admissions work. He landed a job immediately after graduation and embarked on a career and a way of living that makes it easy to see why the value of a Lafayette education is real to me.
But don’t take my word for it. In its College Salary Report this year, PayScale, the Seattle-based compensation data company, places Lafayette fifth in starting median salary among the nation’s liberal arts colleges. And this spring, Bloomberg Businessweek’s in-depth report on the value of a college degree places Lafayette 17th among 1,248 colleges and universities nationally, and second among liberal arts colleges, in net 30-year return on investment. Lafayette’s personalized, “hand-tooled” education that crosses disciplinary boundaries pays handsome dividends. And of course, the value is not only in the salaries our graduates earn, but in the quality of life they enjoy.
A recent national survey commissioned by the Annapolis Group also shows that graduates of liberal arts colleges offer a strong and demonstrable yes to three big questions in the current discussion about higher education: Is it worth the cost? Does the residential learning experience matter? Does a college degree make a difference in the job hunt and career advancement?
As a parent of a Lafayette graduate and a member of the administration, I am proud to say that our College and liberal arts colleges nationally continue to position themselves as an excellent value in higher education.
Robert J. Massa, Ed.D.
Vice President for Communications