President Apologizes for His Burn Against Art History Majors

Last month, President Obama talked about how he hoped more young people would consider trades and skilled manufacturing as viable careers—that they could make more money in those jobs than they could with an art history degree. “Now, nothing wrong with an art history degree — I love art history,” he said. “So I don’t want to get a bunch of emails from everybody.”

Well, according to Inside Higher Ed, he did receive a bunch of emails from art historians, and wrote a handwritten apology to one of them, Ann C. Johns, a senior lecturer in art and art history at UT-Austin:

Let me apologize for my off-the-cuff remarks. I was making a point about the jobs market, not the value of art history. As it so happens, art history was one of my favorite subjects in high school, and it has helped me take in a great deal of joy in my life that I might otherwise have missed. So please pass on my apology for the glib remark to the entire department, and understand that I was trying to encourage young people who may not be predisposed to a four-year college experience to be open to technical training that can lead them to an honorable career.

Johns said she was impressed that the president took the time to write to her and thought it was “an entirely appropriate response.”

Photo: U.S. Army



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