The Aims of Education Tradition

Every year since 1961, a University of Chicago faculty member has been invited to address students in the College regarding their view on the aims of a liberal education. In 1962 the Aims of Education Address was added to Orientation Week and officially became a tradition for incoming students.  The address encourages students to reflect on the purpose and definition of education as they embark upon their collegiate years.

In recent years, the address has been followed by colloquia in the residential College Houses led by faculty members, enabling students to reflect in community upon the speaker's views, share opinions, and develop their own theories about the aims of education and their role in society. The Aims of Education Address provides a collective moment for students entering the College during which they can think about the broader aspects of education, before becoming fully immersed in its details as classes begin.

2012 marked the 50th anniversary of the Aims of Education Address. In honor of the anniversary, the College developed this website in an effort to archive each of the addresses made over the last 50 years. Please click here to read a full history of the Aims by John W. Boyer, Dean of the College.  A complete list of speakers and addresses is also available using the navigation bar.