A true liberal arts education must address the essential nature and purpose of the cosmos and man's relationship to it. Contemporary higher education generally fails to address such primal matters to the detriment of the student, the academy, society, and the modern world. A brief historical review of the purpose and place of education in society will elucidate these issues and in turn offer an essential perspective for those who wish to rediscover the great Western tradition of learning. BIO: Professor James R. Gaston is an Associate Professor of History, and the founding Director of the novel Humanities and Catholic Culture Major at Franciscan University of Steubenville.  He teaches all the integral Humanities and Catholic Culture courses, as well as courses in politics, history, theology, geography and film.  He holds his M.A. in History from the SUNY College at Cortland and is A.B.D. in European Intellectual History at the State University of New York at Buffalo.  His studies have spanned the subjects of theology, Catholic culture, intellectual and social history, political science, philosophy, and geography.  Before joining the Franciscan University Faculty in 1990, Professor Gaston was Lecture Program Director at the Intercollegiate Studies Institute.  His awards include the Earhart Foundation Fellowship, the Franciscan University Teacher of the Year, and multiple nominations to Who’s Who Among America’s Teacher, among others.  He is a member of many academic associations, President of The Society of Christian Culture and Editor of its publication The Dawson Newsletter.