WEB EXCLUSIVE! Matthew Simpson lecturer stresses quality of education

by Jasmynne Sloan

Reverend Dr. William Willimon was the speaker at the annual Matthew Simpson Lecture on Sept. 23 in which he addressed several aspects of higher education including the goals of college institutions and the quality of education.

“I think Dr. Willimon had some interesting and unique perspectives,” said freshman Jenny Tyler.

Willimon said that the point of going to college is to shape a person’s character.

“The purpose of a college education is to cause a moral transformation in students,” he said.

He also said on the recent trend of colleges to study a student’s values.

“Values are for cars, they aren’t adequate to explain how we live,” he said. “Character is what defines a person.”

Willimon is bothered by the trend in education to concentrate less on learning wisdom, and more on learning facts.

“College is becoming a place where we merely gather information,” he said.

“I think Dr. Willimon had a good point when he said that college needs to be a place to learn, not just a place to gather data,” said freshman Elizabeth Daily.

Willimon stressed that one of the main risks of college is that of friendship between one generation and another.

“Maybe the question we should ask students entering college shouldn’t be what their SAT scores were, maybe it should be whether or not they’re willing to risk friendship with another generation,” he stated.

“Dr. Willimon reflected a little on what it means to be a teacher, what it means to teach, and what it means to be a student,” said professor Gary Kinkel who is in charge of the Matthew Simpson Lecture.

“Teachers’ lives are meant to be imitated and students are supposed to look to them for examples,” said Willimon.

In his conclusion, Willimon said that Simpson College is the ideal place for education to take place.

“A place like Simpson ought to be the norm in higher education,” he said.

“I’m not sure I agree with that, because everyone has different needs and a university might be a better choice for some people,” said Daily.

“Dr. Willimon’s speech was engaging and interesting, it provoked some interesting conversations on campus,” said Kinkel. “He gave students and faculty some things to think about.”