One reason to attend a highly selective university is to learn from top university professors — something you typically just can’t do at big state schools. And when we write top university professors, that’s exactly what we mean. Wouldn’t it be cool to learn about healthcare delivery from, say, Howard Dean, the former governor of Vermont and chairman of the Democratic National Committee who had a hand in shaping our nation’s healthcare system? Wouldn’t it be cool to learn about filmmaking from, say, Spike Lee, the director behind such films as “Do the Right Thing,” “Malcolm X,” and “Inside Man”? Wouldn’t it be cool to learn about medicine from C. Everett Koop, the Surgeon General under President Ronald Reagan?
Or how about learning writing from Elie Wiesel, the author of “Night”? Or James McBride, author of the classic “The Color of Water”? Or what about taking an economics course with Steven Levitt, the rogue economist whose research is chronicled in “Freakonomics” and “SuperFreakonomics”? Or learning psychology from B.F. Skinner, the behavioral psychologist who taught us about operant conditioning and so much more? Or Chaim Potok, author of “The Chosen” and “My Name is Asher Lev”?
While Skinner and Potok are no longer alive, Skinner taught for years at Harvard and Potok at the University of Pennsylvania. Dean has taught at Dartmouth as has alumnus C. Everett Koop. Lee and McBride teach at New York University and Wiesel has taught at Yale University. And Steven Levitt is a professor at the University of Chicago in the economics department.
Wouldn’t it be cool to learn from these most accomplished individuals? Wouldn’t it be cool to sit in their classroom? Is this something that you can do at the University of Alabama? Likely not. It’s one of the advantages of attending a highly selective university. To learn from these individuals during your undergraduate years is a once in a lifetime experience — one you’ll never forget.