Geneseo minds are solving today’s problems to create tomorrow’s opportunities.

By Denise A. Battles

Familiar sayings are often variations of someone’s original words. On May 25, 1946, the New York Times reported that Albert Einstein sent a telegram to several hundred prominent Americans under the headline, “Scientist in plea for $200,000 to promote new type of essential thinking.”

At the dawn of the atomic age, Einstein understood the inherent dangers and urged the development of greater knowledge and understanding if the world were to survive. 

Somehow, Einstein’s words took on a life of their own, leading to several misattributed quotations, perhaps best exemplified by this version: “Problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them.”

In higher education and especially at Geneseo, Einstein’s call for understanding and knowledge encapsulates precisely why the liberal arts matter. By combining a rigorous curriculum rooted in the arts and sciences, transformational learning experiences and a rich co-curricular life, Geneseo upholds its mission to create a dynamic, inclusive scholarly environment to advance knowledge and inspire students. That, in turn, leads to greater understanding and problem-solving.

As established by outcomes-based research, a broad, liberal education prepares individuals for life in a rapidly changing world. Unquestionably, that’s the case at Geneseo, evidenced by stories of our 21st-century problem-solvers in this issue of the Geneseo Scene. 

From space exploration to agriculture, healthcare research to wildlife advocacy, Geneseo’s own are making their marks on the world. Not only are they solving some of today’s most pressing problems, they’re creating new opportunities to improve the larger society.

Their passion and commitment are reflected in the depth and breadth of civic engagement, leadership, commitment to lifelong learning, and sense of personal fulfillment and happiness that our Geneseo community strives to nurture and sustain. Repeatedly, our students and alumni have demonstrated the capacity to integrate their learning and apply it to evolving circumstances. This ability makes them particularly well-prepared to address the kind of complex, interdependent problems that characterize our 21st-century existence.

Similarly, our faculty and staff are prepared to address the challenges posed by an ever-changing higher-education landscape. At a time when some voices cast doubt on the value of college in general — and the liberal arts, in particular — Geneseo is admirably positioned to demonstrate otherwise. 

The College has maintained a distinctive niche as New York State’s sole member of the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges. We continue to enhance our status as a premier public liberal arts institution with a growing emphasis on integrative learning that sets Geneseo apart from other higher-education institutions. By offering “high-impact practices,” such as undergraduate research of exceptional depth, rigor and quality; a strong culture of study abroad; and a focus on service-learning, Geneseo produces individuals with the knowledge, skills and habits of mind that enable them to become extraordinary problem-solvers.

That’s critical, given that many of today’s jobs did not exist a decade ago, and even more in the future have yet to be developed. More than ever, our world needs the intelligence, creativity, determination and sense of civic responsibility demonstrated — and shared — by our alumni, students and faculty and staff. 

By advancing and building upon our culture of high expectations and our record of producing exceptional outcomes, Geneseo will continue to attract and foster problem-solvers for this century and beyond.