First-year students joined Robert Shapiro ’72, member of the Board of Overseers at Harvard and president of the Peabody Essex Museum, for a career conference in the Humanities Center on April 2. The event was the third in a series of conferences titled “Humanities: A Way in the World” that explore how concentrating in the humanities shaped the career path of successful College graduates.
Shapiro, who concentrated in philosophy, told students that “the humanities can and must interweave with what you do professionally.” He explained that course work in the humanities, particularly the practice of textual analysis, prepared him for a variety of challenges in the workplace.
“Concentrating in the humanities teaches you how to write well,” he said, “and if you can write clearly and compellingly, you will be on stilts compared to the rest of the world.”
Shapiro explained that his work at the Peabody Essex Museum was enriched by his passion for the humanities.
“Experience in the humanities is required as you seek to understand the many arts and cultures throughout the world,” he said. “It provides the base of a language for intercultural exchange.”
Students had the opportunity to ask questions about Shapiro’s education and career decisions, as well as to discuss their own concentration plans.
Previous speakers included Jim Rothenberg, University treasurer, and Steven E. Hyman, University provost and professor of neurobiology.
— Emily T. Simon