As my family and I celebrated Independence Day earlier this week, I found myself reflecting on the importance of a liberal arts education for the formation of a responsible and engaged citizenry. According to Blessed John Henry Newman, a liberal education is aimed at the cultivation of the human intellect and creates a “habit of mind.” The fruits of this habit include “raising the intellectual tone of society,” “cultivating the public mind,” “facilitating the exercise of political power, and refining the inter course of private life.”

When we open our doors on September 5, 201 7, Cardinal Newman Academy will begin the important work of educating our students in this spirit. Through their study of subjects like rhetoric, philosophy, moral theology, and American government, our students develop a vigorous intellectual commitment to true Christian principles, an understanding of the needs in their communities, and the means to be helpful and responsive. And through their immediate and consistent engagement with the Richmond community, our students thoughtfully address the needs of others, examine those needs within the framework of their faith and classroom learning, and exemplify the virtues of a liberal arts education.

As you have seen in our student profiles, CNA’s Class of 2021 includes wonderful young men and women with enormous talents and exciting futures. I am confident that when these students leave CNA in four years, their talents, perseverance, and study will have prepared them to leave CNA capable of recognizing truth and possessed of the courage to defend it with eloquent and civil discourse.