A Note on the Seal

“I’ve spoken a couple of times in the past about the seal of the college. Are those of you who are joining us today for the first time familiar with it? You can find it in many places around campus — for instance, it is embedded in the brick section of the quad, before the steps descending toward the playing fields and College Creek. The seal is circular and features a picture of a balance-scale, surrounded by seven books representing the seven liberal arts. Inscribed around the edges of the seal is a motto in Latin:

‘Facio liberos ex liberis libris libraque.’

Or, less alliteratively, in English,
‘I make free people out of children by means of books and a balance.’

In earlier talks I’ve wondered about the applicability of the seal to the Graduate Institute, and what it might mean to assert that students in the GI come to the program as ‘children.’ Today, though, I want to take a different tack and push back a little against the motto on the seal. I want to think about what it means to learn as an adult. To explore this, I will talk about an adult I spent a lot of time thinking about with my literature seminar this past semester – the ‘man of many ways,’ Odysseus….”

Read Dean Langston’s full speech here.