BY GARRETT WARD SHELDON| JUNE 21ST, 2019
The processes and ideology destroying American universities described below by Professor emeritus Garrett Ward Sheldon of the University of Virginia are almost an exact parallel with the decline – or rather degeneration – of Australian universities.
Since retiring from the university, several people have asked if I miss it. I tell them I miss what it was, but not what it has become. Higher education in America has gone from being the best in the world to one of the most pathetic. Why? It’s hard to describe what academia was to me and to millions in the past. It was not just a job, but a way of life, and of Western Civilization; and I’m so close to it, that it’s hard to describe—like trying to describe one’s own mother (hence alma mater!).
But let me try. University life at its best was both the most serious, difficult, challenging and maddening existence; and yet, it was also the most exciting, lively, rewarding, and fun experience.
It was deadly serious because we constantly examined the most intense human issues: historical and personal tragedies; ethical dilemmas, philosophical complexities; theological mysteries; and scientific wonders. It was hard because it stretched you intellectually and emotionally, made you question everything and be changed by that knowledge. And it was difficult, because of the enormous workload and demands; assignments, exams, papers, presentations and seminars. I don’t know of another situation, except possibly the military during a war, where one could be tested so much.