The following story was featured in the Fall 2020 Providence Magazine. CLICK HERE to read the full magazine.
By Paul Jimenez
What is the Witherspoon Scholars Program?
The Witherspoon Scholars Program is an elite liberal arts offering for ambitious and intellectually curious students. All those accepted receive a 75% tuition scholarship as well as fully-funded world travel between their Junior and Senior years.
What educational opportunities does it give students?
The core of the program involves moving in chronological fashion through the Western Canon of literature, philosophy, history, and theology. These readings are done as a cohort through monthly discussion seminars. The exclusive nature of the program ensures that students receive individualized attention from teaching faculty. Likewise, each individual student is free to pursue their own concentration of study to achieve their own particular goals.
Our current cohort of Witherspoon Scholars are enrolled in every concentration offered at Providence, from Business to Biblical and Theological Studies. The ambitions of our current students are likewise diverse. Some seek to become pastors or entrepreneurs, while others are pursuing graduate or law schools. This program is for anyone who wants a well-rounded college education and is willing to put in the hard work to receive it.
“The Scholarship that Takes Students Around the World.”— What does that entail?
The highlight of the Witherspoon Scholars experience is the cohort trip in the Summer between Junior and Senior year. As one progresses through the program, one will have read through numerous works written over the course of millennia across the European continent. The cohort trip across Europe is an opportunity to encounter one’s Western intellectual heritage in person and see for oneself where our history was made. Stops include Athens, Rome, Florence, London, Paris and more.
Such a trip is no mere sight-seeing tour. This trip will be led by faculty and involve guided tours and lectures. Students will return for their Senior year having walked in the footsteps of the men and women who gave shape to their education at Providence.
As a liberal arts college, why is this program so vital?
The liberal arts are no longer taken seriously. This is because many so-called “liberal arts colleges” have given up on the pursuit of truth in education and instead seek to indoctrinate their students with bizarre ideological and political slogans. Given this reputation, liberal arts colleges have fallen out of favor with serious minded Christians. This is a problem that Providence is solving.
We stand by a rigorous and demanding liberal arts curriculum that progresses from the Greeks and Hebrews up to contemporary America, which produces graduates who are conversant with their Western intellectual and spiritual heritage. Such graduates are formed by disciplined immersion into truth, beauty, and goodness. The result is a capable, well-rounded, and virtuous adult equipped to succeed and lead in their chosen profession, relationships, and communities.
Ultimately, it is up to us as Christians to carry the mantle of the liberal arts. Almost all we know of the world of antiquity was transmitted to us by Christians who preserved classical literature after the collapse of Rome. In our own time, as culture continues to deteriorate, and truth itself is under assault, it is up to us to preserve our own heritage. There is nothing more vital to the survival of our churches, our communities, and our country than a rising generation of men and women who know and understand their Christian and Western heritage and faithfully persevere amidst challenging times.