Art history majors were vindicated this week after President Barack Obama penned an apology letter to a professor who took issue with his assertion that "skilled manufacturing" could be a more lucrative career path than art history.
"The problem is that a lot of young people don’t see the skilled trades and manufacturing as a viable career. But I promise you, folks make a lot more – potentially – with the skilled trades and manufacturing than with an art history degree," Obama said last month during a speech in Wisconsin.
But University of Texas at Austin Professor Ann Collins Johns, herself an art historian, took exception to the remarks. She wrote the president via the White House website to make her case for the value of the degree, according to the art blog Hyperallergic.
In response, Obama penned Johns an apology note:
“Let me apologize for my off-the-cuff remarks. I was making a point about the jobs market, not the value of art history. As it so happens, art history was one of my favorite subjects in high school, and it has helped me take in a great deal of joy in my life that I might otherwise have missed,” reads a copy of the letter posted on the blog.
So please pass on my apology for the glib remark to the entire department, and understand that I was trying to encourage young people who may not be predisposed to a four year college experience to be open to technical training that can lead them to an honorable career."
Obama also attempted to clarify the remarks during the January speech, saying he loves the subject and did not want to "get a bunch of emails from everybody" complaining about the remark.