Glenn Arbery

About Glenn Arbery

Dr. Glenn C. Arbery is President of Wyoming Catholic College, where he previously served as Dean and Associate Professor of Humanities. He has taught at the University of St. Thomas in Houston, Thomas More College of Liberal Arts, the University of Dallas, and at Assumption College where he was d’Alzon Professor of Liberal Arts. He is the author of Why Literature Matters (2001) and the editor of two volumes, The Tragic Abyss (2004), and The Southern Critics: An Anthology (2010).

Walking Into Wisdom

By |2018-08-27T21:30:40-05:00August 27th, 2018|

There's a pace to reading that corresponds to walking, and probably to thought itself; the followers of Aristotle are called the “peripatetics,” a word that means “those who walk to and fro”... At the end of this week, the fifty-two new freshmen at Wyoming Catholic College descend from the mountains where they have spent the [...]

A Double Challenge for the Church

By |2018-08-25T00:14:40-05:00August 25th, 2018|

Traditional Catholic liberal arts education faces two major challenges right now: 1) the massive redirection of higher education per se away from any serious consideration of God; and 2) the corruption in the Church. The former challenge has been with us for a long time, with some recent twists, and so has the latter—but it’s [...]

Knowledge For Its Own Sake

By |2018-08-17T11:41:37-05:00August 17th, 2018|

What strikes me is that the capacity to choose to do things for their own sakes defines a free people. The highest arts of the mind, most freely pursued, as our whole tradition has recognized until lately, are paradoxically the most useful of all… In my job as President of Wyoming Catholic College, I [...]

Why Reality Ought to Shape Language

By |2018-07-07T00:59:17-05:00June 30th, 2018|

Let reality shape language. Reality in this sense means what is actually the case, which includes what people actually think, not what they are supposed to think. It means an order in which God provides the very grounding of the real… On Sunday afternoon, 34 high school students arrived at Wyoming Catholic College for [...]

The Paradox of Courage

By |2018-06-29T19:44:49-05:00June 23rd, 2018|

Up in the heights of the tradition, protected in grandeur and difficulty, are life-giving waters that descend with surprising force into a world thirsty for courage… Yesterday morning, after reading Murder in the Cathedral in preparation for the last sessions at this year’s Wyoming School of Catholic Thought, I took a long walk up Squaw Creek [...]

How “Humanae Vitae” Continues to Challenge the Modern World

By |2018-06-16T22:30:17-05:00June 16th, 2018|

Pope Paul VI’s controversial encyclical Humanae Vitae cuts across modernity’s default epicurean position by insisting that sexuality is a profound participation in hope, an affirmation that every God-given human life has inestimable worth, not a negotiable value… This summer marks the 50th anniversary of Pope Paul VI’s controversial encyclical Humanae Vitae. Like most of [...]

Ideology and the Humanities

By |2019-04-07T17:25:49-05:00June 8th, 2018|

Ideologies are mind-traps: They are constructed in such a way that they prejudge the motive of opposition to their systems. The great aim of liberal education is to liberate students from mere unexamined opinion into genuine thought… Some people use the word “ideology” neutrally, as though it meant any fairly comprehensive set of ideas. [...]

Ordinary Time: The Extraordinary Moment?

By |2018-06-08T11:21:24-05:00June 1st, 2018|

Time will never be truly ordinary, and everydayness will never dominate as long as we have recourse to silence and prayer… There is a kind of harmony between the aftermath of Pentecost and the weeks after graduation. The great feasts are over, and the intensity of activity has abated. The world enters what the [...]

The Paradox of Courage

By |2018-04-13T20:08:45-05:00April 14th, 2018|

What does courage actually look like? Why is it that many who can face mortal dangers in battle lack the other virtues? How do you account for a man like Cicero, whose voice trembled at the beginning of every speech and who never distinguished himself in battle, yet who stood up to Catiline and [...]

Unbought Grace

By |2018-12-21T07:07:49-05:00March 30th, 2018|

The qualities that I would love most of all to see in all our students could not be better described than by Edmund Burke’s account of the chivalric demeanor: “that proud submission, that dignified obedience, that subordination of the heart, which kept alive, even in servitude itself, the spirit of an exalted freedom”… As [...]

Remaking the Culture

By |2018-03-22T21:50:59-05:00March 22nd, 2018|

On Tuesday, after my monthly coffee hour with the students, one of the graduating seniors caught up with me to ask what exactly it meant to say, as we do in our mission statement, that our mission involves “remaking the culture.” Practically speaking, what does that look like? Since I took office in 2016, [...]

Generations of Leaves

By |2019-04-02T15:07:07-05:00March 8th, 2018|

Everything in nature changes—but love strives for the immortal. What keeps the form of a college supple and stable must be love for something essentially unchanging and yet eternally young, the “beauty so ancient and so new”… Listening to this year’s seniors present their orations last week at Wyoming Catholic College, I found myself [...]

O Oratory!

By |2018-02-23T22:42:01-05:00February 23rd, 2018|

Of all the public arts once honored, oratory might have fallen the farthest. It is now hard to imagine the great hunger that audiences had for political speeches, sermons, lectures—anything that demonstrated the power of language to educate, persuade, or inspire—in the days before the technological revolutions of the past century. They would stand all [...]

Earning the Tradition

By |2019-04-11T11:26:34-05:00February 7th, 2018|

Tradition in action gives rise to new work, and the new work changes the tradition… At a gathering of Wyoming Catholic College faculty and staff on Monday morning, I had occasion to mention T.S. Eliot’s seminal essay “Tradition and the Individual Talent.” Eliot still had an overwhelming ascendancy in literary circles even in the 1960s and [...]