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Friday Slide Show: A Liberal Arts College Share This on LinkedIn   Share This on Google   Tweet This   Forward This

29 January 2016

We're one of those people who make a distinction between a trade school and a college. Those places, that is, that extravagantly promise to quickly make you employable and those others places that modestly promise to teach you how to learn.

We like to visit colleges and when we're there, we can't resist snooping around the bookstore to see which texts are being read in the various courses. English, sociology, philosophy, Italian, comparative literature, we wander up the aisles looking for something interesting.

But we also like to wander around the campus. There's nothing like a college campus. It's an oasis.

We shot these images of St. John Fisher in Rochester, N.Y. in 2007 using a Nikon D200 and an 18-200mm Nikkor. It was an overcast autumn day and the place was not very busy. Just the way we like it.

The Welcome sign in the first shot made us laugh. It was inside the utility building that had, on the exterior, one of those unwelcoming No Parking signs.

But we were soon on the campus, lost in a grove of trees that seemed to buffer us from the concrete and asphalt world. Space to think. And buildings to do it in, too.

It was nice to see a memorial or two and just as nice to find thoughtful paths as well as efficient sidewalks.

We got our second laugh in an orchard of apple trees. A "delicious" irony, perhaps, although we can't confirm they are Delicious apples. This is a Catholic college, after all, where the story of Adam and Eve is lost on no one. Why there are apple trees there, we can't say, but we do note the apples have been left on the ground.

Manning & Napier Varsity Gym is a particularly attractive building even when you shoot it as unglamorously as we did, aiming straight up its gutter. It snows there, of course, and that drainage system has been nicely incorporated into the building design.

At Growney Stadium we were charmed by the iron fence and the multiple-sport layout. We were also impressed by the night lighting, which our own university (at the time) lacked. And look how open the stadium is, as if no one is expected to buy a ticket.

It was nice to see a memorial or two and just as nice to find thoughtful paths as well as efficient sidewalks.

The world needs both.

But we're glad we didn't leave college with nothing more than a profession. We left with some familiarity with the Western canon but more importantly with a burning curiosity and a nose for answers that has served us well in a world that changes dramatically year after year.

We ended our tour in front of an imposing building which proclaimed, "Teach me goodness, discipline and knowledge."

We would have settled for two out of three.

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