For Immediate Release

David Tritelli
Vice President for Communications and Public Affairs
202-884-0812 (office)

AAC&U Presents 2012 Frederic W. Ness Book Award to Why Choose the Liberal Arts? by Mark W. Roche

Jan 26, 2012

Washington, DC—The Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) announced today the winner of its Frederic W. Ness Book Award: Why Choose the Liberal Arts?, published in 2010 by the University of Notre Dame Press. The Ness award is given to a book that best illuminates the goals and practices of a contemporary liberal education, and will be formally presented to the author, Mark W. Roche, at AAC&U’s Annual Meeting, on January 26, 2012 in Washington, DC.

In his book, Mark W. Roche lucidly and passionately argues for the essential value of the liberal arts. He draws on more than thirty years of experience in higher education as a student, faculty member, and administrator, and deftly connects the broad theoretical perspective of educators to the practical needs and questions posed by many students and their parents.

Roche is the Rev. Edmund P. Joyce, C.S.C., Professor of German Language and Literature and Concurrent Professor of Philosophy at the University of Notre Dame. He was the Dean of the College of Arts and Letters at the University of Notre Dame from 1997-2008, and served as Chairperson of the Department of German and Russian Languages and Literatures. In 2006, Roche received a Kaneb Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching. He has written seven books, including Why Literature Matters in the 21st Century (Yale University Press, 2004).

This year’s Ness award winner was selected by a committee of higher education leaders, including Dr. David W. Oxtoby (chair), president of Pomona College, and past chair of AAC&U’s Board of Directors; Dr. Judith Ramaley, president of Winona State University; Dr. Andrew Delbanco, Julian Clarence Levi Professor in the Humanities at Columbia University; and Dr. Edward Ray, president of Oregon State University.

"Receiving the Ness Book Award from AAC&U is a great honor,” said author Mark W. Roche. “I wrote this book for students, parents, and administrators. My goal was to communicate the practical value of a liberal education, as well as to show other values of a liberal education that tend today to be overlooked.”

“Mr. Roche outlines the benefits of a liberal education for all students striving for success in today’s tough economy,” said Ness Book Award committee chair, Dr. David W. Oxtoby.“ The book Why Choose the Liberal Arts? accurately reflects AAC&U’s mission, ‘to reinforce the collective commitment to liberal education at both the national and local levels and to help individual institutions keep the quality of student learning at the core of their work as they evolve to meet new economic and social challenges.’ We were very pleased to grant this award to Mr. Roche’s book.”

The Ness book award was established by AAC&U in 1979 to honor AAC&U's president emeritus, Frederic W. Ness. Recent award winners include Tearing Down the Gates: Confronting the Class Divide in American Education by Peter Sacks; Our Underachieving Colleges by Derek Bok; Saving Higher Education in the Age of Money by James Engell and Anthony Dangerfield; Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi; Cultivating Humanity: A Classical Defense of Reform in Liberal Education by Martha Nussbaum; and Idealism and Liberal Education by James O. Freedman.