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Academic Advising

Why Am I Taking This Stuff?


Text Transcript

(Russ Starkey received a Bachelor of Science degree [1964] in physics from Miami, which he attended on a Navy ROTC scholarship. He served in the U.S. Navy aboard nuclear submarines and attained the rank of Lt. Commander. Mr. Starkey's career in the civilian nuclear power industry spanned 35 years. He recently retired as VP for USEC, Inc., a global energy company. He recently made a $150,000 gift, creating 2 scholarships that will support Miami students. In this video, Mr. Starkey talks about how he discovered the value of many of his courses long after he left Miami. Mr. Starkey explains how Miami and NROTC set his career path in a video on the College of Arts and Science website.)

"First and foremost, I should say, in my day we called that [the general education requirements] the 'Common Curriculum.' That is the liberal-based part of our education that we all had to have. I hated it. I wanted to take math and physics courses. I mean, after all, that's why I was here. And I kept thinking, why in the world am I being required to take all this other stuff, if you will? Well, I did, and for the most part I enjoyed it, but I would have done something else given the opportunity.

"But as I aged and got into the workforce, even in the [military] service, I began to recognize that you know what? This was pretty good stuff. It broadened my base of perspective and gave me a lot of different perspectives. It gave me different ways to view things than I otherwise would have had. Every issue, problem, what have you, you can look at from a variety of directions. The more directions from which you can look at it, the better you can empathize and sympathize, the better problem solution you'll get to.

"Here's what you need to think about. You'll get a good, solid liberal-based education. You'll get the major that you want. But most importantly, you'll be at the #2 teaching university for undergraduates in the country. You need to think about that very seriously. If you want a good, solid undergraduate education, you go to a university where that's their forte."

[April 2011]


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