Making a Case for the Humanities

Issue Date: 
February 1, 2016

In recent years, liberal arts degree programs in U.S. colleges and universities have faced increased scrutiny from state lawmakers. Arguing that graduates holding such degrees are not as marketable in the country’s workplace, elected officials have questioned the practicality of humanities-based disciplines and the levels of support they require. Their concerns have led to significant cuts in state-sponsored support for certain programs, as well as the permanent dissolution of others, within some of the nation’s most respected public institutions.

Fareed ZakariaThe University of Pittsburgh will host CNN journalist Fareed Zakaria along with Pitt’s Arthur S. Levine and three other distinguished academic professionals for a discussion on the importance of the humanities. The discussion, titled “The Humanities: Can You Afford to Leave College Without Them?” will begin at 7 p.m., Feb. 2, in Ballroom B of Pitt’s University Club. The event is free and open to the public; registration is recommended at

Zakaria hosts CNN’s international affairs program Fareed Zakaria GPS and is a weekly foreign affairs columnist for The Washington Post.

Arthur S. Levine is Pitt’s senior vice chancellor for the health sciences and the John and Gertrude Petersen Dean of the School of Medicine.

The panel will also feature Regina Barreca, a satirist and a professor of English literature at the University of Connecticut; Hunter R. Rawlings III, president of the Association of American Universities; and Helen Small, a professor of English literature at the University of Oxford. David Shribman, executive editor of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, will moderate the panel.

The panel discussion is sponsored by the University Honors College and Humanities Center. The event is a part of Pitt’s Year of the Humanities in the University. For more information, visit