Newman on the Value of a Liberal Education
A person with a well-trained intellect is a useful person, socially and in every other way. Such persons raise the intellectual tone of society, cultivate taste, public spiritedness, give enlargement and sobriety to the ideas of an age, and refine private life.
The kind of education a university should provide is the education which gives a man a clear conscious view of his own opinions and judgments, a truth in developing them, an eloquence in expressing them, and a force in urging them.
It teaches him to see things as they are, to go right to the point, to disentangle a skein of thought, to detect what is sophistical and to discard what is irrelevant. It prepares him to fill any post with credit, and to master any subject with facility. It shows him how to accommodate himself to others, ... how to influence them, how to come to an understanding with them, how to bear with them. He is at home in any society, he has common ground with every class; he knows when to speak and when to be silent; he is able to converse, he is able to listen; he can ask a question pertinently and gain a lesson seasonably, when he has nothing to impart himself; he is ever ready, yet never in the way; he is a pleasant companion, and a comrade you can depend upon; he knows when to be serious and when to trifle, and he has a sure tact which enables him to trifle with gracefulness and to be serious with effect ....
He has a gift which serves him in public and supports him in retirement, without which good fortune is but vulgar and with which failure and disappointment have a charm. The art which tends to make a man all this, is in the object which it pursues as useful as the art of wealth or the art of health.
— John Henry Newman, The Idea of a University (1852).