A “Lifetime Contribution” is exactly right.

Speaking of Dostoevsky, I just heard that my dear literature professor, Dr. Mary Mumbach, the former dean and co-founder of Thomas More College, and now dean and co-founder of The Erasmus Institute of Liberal Arts, has just been awarded the2011 Russell Kirk Paideia Prize for Lifetime Contribution To Classical Education.

I am absolutely delighted to see Dr. Mumbach being recognized.  This is a woman who eat, drinks, and breathes literature, and who has poured her entire life into passing her love on to hundreds and hundreds of college students.  Last time I read The Brothers Karamazov, it was in her Russian Novel class . . . let’s see, about fifteen years ago, almost to the day, I think!  And here I am picking up the book for the third or fourth time.  How I would love to be able to sit in the cafeteria with a cup of coffee and have a chat with Dr. Mumbach.

Hey parents, if your kids are approaching college age, do yourself a favor and check out The Erasmus Institute, where Dr. Mumbach is Dean and professor.  It is a small, rustic, intense place, joyfully Catholic and utterly dedicated to the love of learning.  And there’s a Rome semester!  And look at this curriculum! And if you act fast, your child could have the delightful experience not only of soaking up the best of Western Civilization, but of soaking it up in a chair next to such celebrities as my own brother, my niece, and my nephew.

Seriously, my three brothers and four sisters and I, my husband, and two of my husband’s siblings were all students of the folks who founded Erasmus.  This is a good place – take a look.

One more thing:  as I write,  it occurs to me that, for some reason, I never thanked my teachers for the extraordinary education I got.  I can see much more clearly now how much love, care, and energy went into each class, and I am very grateful!  Thank you, Dr. Mumbach, and Dr. Sampo, Mr. Shea, Ms. Enos, Ms. Bonifield, and Mr. Syseskey.  Life is so much richer because of those four years.

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