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Coronavirus: When Colleges Graduate Heroes

Coronavirus: When Colleges Graduate Heroes

By now, one fact has made the news in at least a few outlets: medical students have risen to the occasion.

Inside Higher Ed is at least one place that has given students — and the colleges that have taught them — a deserved acknowledgment. As Terry Hartle writes, many of the med students, whose educations were as disrupted as every other students’, “felt called to serve.” So, they staffed patient hotlines, volunteered as first responders and raised money to buy, or even make, protective gear for hospital staff.

Many students, too, are graduating virtually and volunteering to work in New York City, in what is undoubtedly ground zero for COVID-19. The author of the article, in fact, likens these students to the graduates of West Point and the U.S. Naval Academy, who graduated early to get the officers to the front lines quickly.

By now, we know that “front lines” in a global pandemic is staffed by, among others, the doctors and nurses and hospital technicians. “If there is one word to summarize what these idealistic young people share with that earlier generation of heroes,” writes Hartle, “it is courage.” These students instruct and inspire us, he says.

And in today’s news cycle, any news that is good news is welcome — within the field of education, even more so! And examples like this only serve to point out the obvious: colleges and universities are unquestionably necessary for what confronts us. And it’s not just schools with medical programs, it’s also schools that teach the creative and critical thinking: liberal arts colleges.

All these skills are what American education teaches. It is the program worth investing in: it aids us in a crisis, it alleviates suffering, and it seems to be beyond all argument that it creates heroes we can rally behind.

By Sean Hill, Senior Content Writer, Capture Higher Ed