Former student Ben Brockway proves the value of an arts & sciences education. He took the lessons he learned from a Lourdes professor and put them into action while serving in the US Navy.

2010: Lourdes College

Enrolled at Lourdes, Ben received word that he had been recalled to active duty and was deployed in Iraq. During his tour, he and fellow servicemen and women were able to have flags flown in honor of individuals they respected in the "face of the direct enemy." These individuals also were permitted to carry the flags on their body during direct combat.

Ben took advantage of this opportunity.

2011: Lourdes College

PhilosophyThis February, Ben came home for a short visit and reconnected with one of his professors – Mark Christensen, Chair of the Philosophy & Values Department. He brought with him a flag that he had dedicated to Professor Christensen for the lessons and skills he taught in Philosophy 101. The flag was accompanied by a certificate of authenticity signed by two US Navy officers.

Lessons learned

Part of Professor Christensen's lesson plan includes a military analogy of Plato, a decorated hero, and Plato's use of ethics and critical thinking skills. "In Professor Christensen's class, I learned to keep an open mind," notes Ben, who holds the position of MA2 EXW.

"We learned the importance of thinking outside of the box and looking at issues from different points of view. These philosophy techniques were pivotal in my time overseas and enabled me to complete my mission."

Currently stationed at Virginia Beach, Ben hopes to return to Lourdes either this summer or fall to continue pursuing a business degree. It is his hope to be a dog trainer of K9s in the military.

"I want to be involved with helping servicemen and women who have PTSD otherwise known as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder," adds Ben. "It is one of the coolest things to see the transformation in the animals and help them to build their confidence."

"The flag symbolizes every human right I believe in, represents every act of courage and every moment of self-sacrifice ever made by men and women serving under it," comments Professor Christensen. "Mr. Brockway knows honor and understands respect. He has shown me more of each than I deserve."