Chemistry as a Liberal Art
(1) Individuals are trained to recognize recurring elements and common
(2) They are trained to see relationships between things that may seem
(3) They are trained to combine familiar elements into new form.
(4) They learn to arrange their thoughts in logical order, to write and
speak clearly and economically.
(5) They learn to tolerate ambiguity and to bring order out of
(6) They are accustomed to a relatively unstructured and unsupervised
research and discovery process and feel comfortable with
(7) They have insight into the fit of form with function.
(8) They have learned "sideways" thinking, the
cross-classifying habit of the mind that comes from learning many
different ways to look at things.
(9) They have learned to replace confrontation with cooperation and the
principles of conflict resolution.
(10) They have learned the importance of intellectual integrity, social
responsibility, and ethical commitment.
(11) They learn that the effective management of change comes from the
habit of being receptive to new information, to new paths to traditional
goals, even to new goals.
(12) They have learned to uncover truths in many forms, and that an answer
need not be final.
(13) They need to see the worth of the impact of what they do, to
understand its place in the larger schemes of things.
(14) They learn about the kinds of creativity that leads to visionary
Roger B. Smith
Chairman of General Motors Corporation
October 1985 at the University of Michigan.