Campus News

Wall Street Journal Blog Highlights Yongfang Chen 10, Liberal Arts Book

Story posted December 17, 2009

The merits of a liberal arts education and the book A True Liberal Arts Education (China Publishing Group, 2009), written by Yongfang Chen '10 for college-bound students in his native China, are the subject of an article on The Wall Street Journal's China Real Time Report blog.

The article, posted December 16, 2009, notes the growing number of Chinese seeking to change their mindset through a foreign education and that while many Chinese students favor large, research-oriented U.S. schools, Chen and his co-authors attend schools "renowned for their teaching."

An excerpt from the article:

Yongfang Bookstore300.jpg
Yongfang Chen '10 with a display of his books at Shanghai Book City, the largest bookstore in Shanghai.
Read more about Chen's book.
The book's principal author, Chen Yongfang, picked Bowdoin College, a tradition-laden liberal arts school in Brunswick, Maine, that enrolls just 1,700 students and boasts alumni such as the authors Nathaniel Hawthorne and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. The other two, Li Wan and Lin Nie, went respectively to Bucknell University and Franklin and Marshall College.

In a phone interview from Maine, Chen says he didn't initially know the advantages of a liberal arts education, which ideally is meant to train critical faculties instead of simply acquiring knowledge — which often can be dated soon after graduation.

"When I applied I didn't know what a liberal arts education was all about," Chen said. "Then I realized the advantages and wrote the book to disseminate the idea in China."

The article also reports that Chen's book is widely featured around China, especially at bookstores near high schools and colleges, and that it is now in its second printing.

Read the article.

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