On the advice of my high school philosophy teacher, I listed Fr. James Schall’s, S.J., “Elements of Political Theory” course as my top choice in my first semester here in 1993. To this day, I remain glad I did.

Fr. Schall introduced me to the Socratic method of teaching whereby he would pace through the room asking students questions, always returning to basic ones such as “when did Aristotle die?” In the back of that classroom, my future roommate and I became friends as we chuckled at people who couldn’t answer Fr.Schall’s questions. Of course, it wasn’t so funny when we didn’t know, which thankfully wasn’t very often. If nothing else, I gained my first lifetime college friend thanks to Fr. Schall and 322 B.C.

But, Fr. Schall also provided a deeper foundation for my education. At the heart of his teaching was his stress on the constant, lifelong pursuit of truth. In “TheRepublic,” Plato’s Socrates says that “in the knowable realm, the form of the good is the last thing to be seen, and it is reached only with difficulty,” a lesson I still carry in my mind. While I cannot say I read philosophy over and over as Fr. Schall does, I keep my copies from his class on the first row of my bookshelf and treasure the knowledge they contain.

Our text told us that “the aim of education is to turn the soul around by changing its desires.” Nineteen years later, I know Fr. Schall’s class laid the foundation for my education by teaching me to desire more in learning. No other professor has left such an impression on me; I know countless others agree. Fr. Schall epitomizes what one should want from a Georgetown education, and I am grateful that I could learn from him.

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