Character, Soul & the University: David Brooks

Colleges and universities can play a virtual role in the moral, intellectual and spiritual development of a student’s life. But there is a growing mismatch between the culture of many campuses, and the challenges young people will face in their careers, politics and personal lives.


Author and columnist David Brooks suggested solutions in his stirring speech, “How a University Shaped My Soul”, given at the recent annual conference of Heterodox Academy. He spoke about the life lessons he learned as an undergraduate at The University of Chicago.


“Our professors taught us intellectual courage. There is no such thing as thinking for yourself,” he said. “Even the words we think with are collective things, and most of us don’t think for truth, we think for bonding.”


Brooks surprised his audience by praising students who challenge their professors, saying “on balance, it’s a good thing.”


Since 2003, David Brooks has been an op-Ed columnist at The New York Times. He is an executive director at the Aspen Institute, a commentator on PBS Newshour, and author of the new book, “The Second Mountain."

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