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Martin Luther King Jr. spoke of character

January 18, 2021


A timely piece about Martin Luther King Jr. is featured on the Character and Virtue website. The article, titled “The Goal of True Education: Remembering the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King Jr.” focuses on Dr. King’s references to character and how it ties to our work at Saint Mary’s.

An excerpt: In fact, in 1947, while he was an undergraduate student at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, the young King authored an essay titled “The Purpose of Education.” “We must remember that intelligence is not enough,” King wrote, “Intelligence plus character–that is the goal of true education.”

Today, as American higher education defends the value of “true education” against recent trends toward transactional understandings of education, King presciently wrote in that same essay, “Education which stops with efficiency may prove the greatest menace to society. The most dangerous criminal may be the man gifted with reason, but with no morals.”

Saint Mary’s renewed focus on character education and virtue formation echoes King’s vision of true education. Grounded in our Lasallian Catholic mission, Saint Mary’s students receive a rigorous intellectual formation but also opportunities to develop their character and ethical leadership. “Despite all of the challenges that we face today, even with change throughout history, and respecting our differences, character is still capable of uniting us,” said Michael Hahn, Ph.D., program director of Saint Mary’s Character and Virtue Education program. “It remains a worthy and attainable goal of higher education.”