Alumni Stories: Lee Cooper '09

I recall thinking, as an undergrad, that Religion was interesting and unique because it was a prism through which I could explore the liberal arts broadly. It provided a coherent excuse to take courses related to Philosophy, Anthropology, History, and Sociology, all under one roof. I now have an MBA and a JD, and I work in biotechnology with MDs and PhDs---all a far cry from Mahayana Buddhism or Spinoza--but I still find myself thinking about Turner's "Betwixt and Between," among many other great readings. the reading, writing, and learning I did as a Religion major remains more core to who I am than an graduate degrees or job titles I have since earned.

When, as an undergrad, I thought of Religion as a lens through which I could study and understand the world, I almost had it right. Religion itself would not be the lens; rather, it would be the Religion Major. And even if a major in Religion (or another Liberal Art) isn't right for everyone, I feel deeply that students at Dartmouth would be doing themselves a disservice to pass on the opportunity for an intimate class that will provide substance and skills related to so many parts of life, even if never the core of them. I never "do" Religion like I do Math or Biology, or even Public Policy, but I use it almost all of the time.