An interesting article in The New York Times on Kelly Jolley, Chairman of the Philosophy Department at Auburn, and his bootstrapping of the department over the past 17 years from a tolerated backwater to a philosophy powerhouse:

Jolley is almost single-handedly responsible for this state of affairs. When he first arrived at Auburn as a young professor 17 years ago, there were just a handful of philosophy majors, and there wasn’t much interest inside the department or the administration in adding more. Today, however, there are about 50 philosophy majors at Auburn. If recent history is any guide, a handful of them will even pursue Ph.D.’s in philosophy at highly competitive graduate schools and go on to become professional philosophers. “I don’t know of a comparable department at a comparable school,” James Conant, a philosophy professor at the University of Chicago, where two of Jolley’s former students are now studying, told me.

Well worth reading, and all the more impressive since Auburn–a land grant college centered around the idea that education needs to be “practical”–isn’t centered around the liberal arts vision like Williams.

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