December 19, 2002 - The Chieftan: Richard Celeste: Liberal arts remains a viable education

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Directors of the Peace Corps: Richard F. Celeste: April 27, 1979-January 20, 1981 : Celeste: December 19, 2002 - The Chieftan: Richard Celeste: Liberal arts remains a viable education

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Richard Celeste: Liberal arts remains a viable education

Richard Celeste: Liberal arts remains a viable education

CC president: Liberal arts remains a viable education
Chieftain photo/Chris McLean
Richard Celeste, the new president of Colorado College, was in Pueblo on Wednesday pitching a liberal arts education.
The Pueblo Chieftain

The absence of liberal arts colleges in the mountain states should not cause top high school students to overlook the option, new Colorado College president Richard Celeste said Wednesday during a visit to Pueblo.

The 1,900-student Colorado College in Colorado Springs ranks as the lone nationally recognized liberal arts school "in our time zone," Celeste noted.

To the east, however, similar schools are widely popular, Celeste said. In his former home state of Ohio alone, as many as 60 of the colleges operate, he said.

The schools provide a "tremendous foundation" in an era when people will "experience at least six job changes in the course of a work life and several of these will require a change in fields," Celeste said.

In the case of Colorado College, the school helps prepare students for a wide range of postsecondary studies and careers not always closely associated with liberal arts education, he said.

Recently, two graduates made the Discovery Channel's list of top 50 women scientists, Celeste said. Only the Massachusetts Institute of Technology was better represented with three honorees, he added.

Celeste, 64, who served as governor of Ohio from 1983 until 1991, accepted the Colorado College presidency last spring following a four-year appointment as ambassador to India in President Clinton's administration.

In between political posts, he served as an economic development consultant.

Celeste said his tenure as governor was among the most fulfilling of his career.

"I enjoyed every day I was governor. I enjoyed the days with hard decisions. I enjoyed the tangible results. My feeling is if you're going to be in public life it is the greatest job you can have," he said.

Since his arrival, Celeste has watched with interest the workings of Colorado state government, including the ongoing debate on how to best deal with the state's economic slowdown.

He isn't as alarmed as some, he admitted, noting that in his first year as governor of Ohio the state's unemployment rate was a staggering 14 percent.

"We probably were sending Ohioans to Colorado," he said.

Still, he worries about the prospect the state will limit spending on higher education, he said. He considers a large college-educated work force one of the top keys to economic prosperity.

Roughly one-fourth of Colorado College's student base comes from Colorado. They come from cities large and small. Among them are a number of Puebloans, he said.

Pueblo is also the former and current home of several top Colorado College alum, including United Nations ambassador Bill Hybl and Pueblo Chieftain Publisher Bob Rawlings, he noted.

Still, "there are not as many top students . . . who have Colorado College on their radar screens as I would like. I think they would strive at Colorado College," Celeste said.

Roughly half of all Colorado College students receive government financial aid to help fund the annual tuition that tops $25,000, he said. The school also maintains a large endowment to help defray costs.

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Story Source: The Chieftan

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