From time to time, faculty members invite me to sit in on one of their classes to watch student presentations, or they recommend that I speak with one of their standout students. Within the span of a day, I was lucky enough to have both circumstances presented to me.

In the classroom, four students were providing updates on how their research project was going. Part of that included me and a handful of guest professors asking questions. The professors, of course, had in-depth knowledge of the topics presented, so they queried what I respectfully call “the mathy side of things.” I focused more on the students’ ability to interact and maintain productivity — the personal side of group research.

For the one-on-one conversation with the other standout student, I found myself peppering her with questions — it wasn’t so much of an interrogation, but rather, she was so interesting, and her responses were so fluid that my curiosity grew with each answer.

It almost seems that I’m preaching to the choir with this next comment because you’re likely an alum if you’re reading this column. Each student I spoke with that day was an exceptional communicator, which is the biggest nod to the liberal arts.

Lessons in communication don’t just happen in Communication and Speech classes. Our faculty ensure that students are given plenty of opportunities throughout their four years to prepare and present what they’ve learned — whether that’s in front of a group of peers and faculty or one-on-one with someone who has made a living asking questions.

So when someone asks me why having a liberal arts education is important, I point to every student I’ve interviewed here. Just ask them; they’ll explain it perfectly.