These three words, visible on banners all over campus, remind us constantly of the three key components of our campus identity as well as genuinely representing the three key components of the college’s vision statement:
Georgetown College is an innovative community (live) of scholars developing ethical scholars (learn) committed to our heritage of Christian discernment (believe).
With the word “live,” we emphasize the identity of Georgetown College as a residential campus. We are focused on the idea of building community and building the sort of communication skills that can be developed best in a residential setting. We live in an age in which people spend so much time on cell phones and communicating via IM that they sometimes need to develop their skill in dealing with people face to face. Since so much of real-world employment involves working directly with other people, the experience of the residential setting isn’t just a luxury—it is an integral part of an educated person’s preparation for life beyond college
The word “learn” is in the middle of the set of three terms because learning is at the center of the liberal arts education. A liberal arts education strives to develop the whole person by fostering an understanding of a variety of disciplines and teaching the individual how to think with depth and flexibility. A genuine education isn’t an “information dump”—if all students need is information, they can get that themselves from a book. A genuine education focuses not on what to think, but instead on how to think. A student may never need to know certain specific information we teach, such as how to apply a particular mathematical formula, or the significance of a particular passage of Beowulf, for instance. But it IS important that a student learns how to think like a mathematician and understand the function of math and statistics, and it IS important to understand how language works and how literature helps us understand people far removed from us in time, place, and culture. A liberal arts education teaches a student the kind of flexibility of mind that is necessary in a world in which the average person switches careers at least seven times. Employers can train a person how to do the specifics of a job: they want to know that a graduate comes to them with the ability to learn, think and communicate.
The last of our three signature words focuses on the ultimate element of our college’s identity: its Christian community. We do not tell you what to believe; instead, we provide an atmosphere that encourages belief and supports it. In secular institutions, faith is often seen as superfluous and irrelevant to education. At Georgetown College, a student is free to develop belief systems and encouraged to test them against the variety of opinions that exist in this diverse community. The college fosters a student’s faith—and the college also has faith in its students and the ability of those students to believe in themselves.