Cum Gratia Officium—With gifting, responsibility
Templeton Honors College | Eastern University| 1300 Eagle Road | St. Davids, PA | 610.225.5022
The meaning of earthly existence is not, as we have grown used to thinking, in prosperity, but in the development of the soul. –Alexandr Solzhenitsyn
We asked. They answered. Read their full response below. Keep in mind that these responses are conversational in nature, and do not necessarily reflect the official policies or standards of the school or the ACCS.
What makes this college/university experience unique?
The Templeton Honors College is a cohort based model of learning with the motto “Cum Gratia Officium,” or “With gifting, responsibility.” We take very seriously our calling to enhance and refine the talents and gifts of our students so they might go out into the world and change it for the better.
We only take in 36 students per year, and those students read and discuss the Great Books alongside faculty and staff. The classes are predominantly Socratic and function best when students are willing to question and learn as a community. However, students do not just study the Great Books, but are able to choose from 90 different programs offered by Eastern University that will compliment their classical learning by training them for specific careers.
Do you offer any of the following: Great Books courses, Great Books programs, Latin or Greek studies, classical Christian teacher courses
Templeton is a Great Books college within the wider Eastern University. In fact, a phrase we use repeatedly within the college is “Great Books, Great Conversations, Great Lives.” All our courses are taught through the canon of the Great Books, even our Math course.
We also have a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) with a focus in Classical Education. The curriculum has been designed specifically to give students the skills and knowledge to teach liberal arts in the high school setting with the added benefit of Pennsylvania’s certification being valid in 46 states.
Do you have any comments specifically for classically educated students?
We are always interested in having classically educated students as their background and knowledge of the classics benefits not just them but their college peers. We spend a great deal of time visiting classical schools around the country, connecting with them by e-mail or online, and making them aware of our various programs including our Summer Scholars Program aimed at high school students.
We actually have several classical high schools represented by our students, including Veritas Press Scholars Academy (online), Veritas Academy (Lancaster), Claritas Classical Academy (Bryn Mawr), Caldwell Academy (Greensboro), and Regina Luminis Academy (Downingtown).
What fun and interesting activities happen at your college? Do you have unique traditions or events?
The Templeton education begins with a 6 day camping trip where students, faculty, and staff get to know each other while experiencing the beauty of upstate New York and the Adirondacks. This has the benefit of allowing students to become friends before they enter the classroom and is an enormous help to the ensuing discussion.
Both freshmen and senior years end with a banquet where students reflect on their experience and share thoughts regarding their time with us and pieces of literature that have impacted them.
Almost all our students study abroad while at Templeton, choosing from a wide range of destinations: Israel, Hong Kong, Lithuania, France, Scotland, England, various locations in Latin America, New Zealand and many more.
Due to a generous donation from one of our donors, students have the opportunity to attend many fine arts events in Philadelphia and the surrounding area every year (e.g. Philadelphia Orchestra, various plays, art exhibitions etc).
We also have an Institute for Orthodox Thought and Culture closely connected with Templeton and Eastern for students who wish to minor in Orthodox studies, and the Agora Institute which is committed to fostering conversation and community in an increasingly compartmentalized and divided society.
What is your mission/vision statement? How do you ensure your faculty maintain your vision?
The Templeton Honors College strives to be nationally recognized as a premier liberal arts institution challenging students with an academically rigorous education in the Christian classical tradition. Templeton emphasizes critical study and engagement with great books, great conversations, and great lives and prepares gifted students to become thoughtful leaders in their professional and personal lives. Our community of scholars aims to form whole persons whose spiritual and intellectual gifts will flourish and enrich others with meaningful lives of service and reflection.
We also have a set of core values: truth and learning, wisdom and virtue, stewardship and service that are emphasized throughout the college.
All our faculty sign a statement of faith every year, committing to the core tenets of the Christian faith and to living out their calling within the college. They meet regularly with each other and students and discussion regarding the vision and how well we are doing is always ongoing. Recently we began a chorale class that all first years take because faculty realized we were not doing enough to instill a love of the fine arts in our students.