Ben was born and raised in Massillon, Ohio as the oldest of three siblings. He was educated at a classical Christian co-op through middle school and was homeschooled through high school. During that time, he became interested in ancient and medieval literature and was particularly impacted by Dante’s Divine Comedy, where he found images of moral and metaphysical truths displayed in a beautiful and engaging way. In his junior year, he visited Hillsdale and was able to sit in on a class where Dante’s Purgatorio was being discussed. Convinced that a college which engaged with the great tradition, through classes like Western Heritage and the Great Books, was worth attending, he applied, was accepted, and began his undergraduate career therein 2016. While attending, Ben took classes in English, Philosophy, Theology, and History and received a B.A. in English from the college in 2020. After graduation he taught Seventh Grade Language Arts and Texas History at Valor Public Schools in Austin, Texas. He moved back to Ohio in 2021, working at a small marketing firm in Akron, Ohio, before applying to the Hillsdale Graduate School of Classical Education.
What brought you to Hillsdale?
I attended Hillsdale College as both an undergraduate and as a part of the inaugural class of the Graduate School of Classical Education for a similar reason: a conviction that the liberal arts and the pursuit of truth are things worth participating in and passing on to the next generation. I found that Hillsdale College and its faculty are driven by a love of the true, good, and beautiful. Western civilization is built on contemplation of those things, and we engage with them especially by reflecting on those great works and ideas that have been recognized by our forbearers. As a grateful recipient of such an education, I decided to attend this graduate program in order to further participate in those conversations and hopefully pass on that gift to others.
What is distinctive about Hillsdale’s Graduate School of Classical Education?
I believe that one challenge that has beenespecially pressed upon me this year is the struggle between the philosophersand rhetoricians throughout the Western tradition. Though it is easy toconceive of the tradition as a single continuous idea, there was actuallycontinuous conversation and debate between various thinkers. One major tensionis between philosophy and rhetoric, knowing rightly and speaking well, theoryand practice. Though I think it is obvious that the ideal man should be fluentin both schools, the way this plays out in our pedagogy and curriculum is ofparticular importance. The classes I have taken thus far have challenged me tothink more on this topic, as a proper synthesis of the two “schools” is ofgreat importance to the current landscape of classical education.
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