Liberal Arts University

Tradition of Liberal Arts and Its Role at Vytautas Magnus University

Throughout its short but exciting history, Vytautas Magnus University has been faithfully nurturing and continuing its distinguished traditions. What sets this university apart is its willingness to organize studies, scientific research and life of the community in a different way. Intellectuals from Lithuania and abroad have participated in the reestablishment of VMU and defined its goals, which are pursued to this day. Here, utmost importance is given to honesty, tolerance and dialogue, while the forerunning principles are liberal and democratic.

Creativity, progress and development of national culture are all brought into sharp focus here. From the very first days of the university’s re-establishment in 1989, the experiences of Western universities have been an important influence. VMU was the first Lithuanian institution of higher education to offer Bachelor’s, Master’s and doctoral degree studies. Modern conception of the model first used by Harvard University has been implemented here. VMU differs from other Lithuanian universities in the freedom it gives the students: they can choose and design their own study schedule.

The VMU community – students, lecturers, graduates – is united by the idea of artes liberales, i.e. the classical university of liberal arts. Warm, honest interaction and liberal humanist spirit always follow and provide strength to the community. This spirit is nurtured by Collegium Artes Liberales, a club that was re-established in 2011. The club already held a discussion on liberal arts that received a significant amount of attention. Soon afterwards, philosophy students’ scientific association Agora challenged the academic community to a debate, which was titled The Freedom at the University – Where Is it?

As an institution, university is highly important to the state. For the members of the academic community, it serves as the hotbed for science, improvement and communication. It is not just an institution of higher learning; it is much more. It is the perfect embodiment of the freedom and the autonomy which the humanity had first achieved a thousand years ago when the first university was opened and helped people learn to live as a community adhering to the ideals of this kind.

Classical liberal arts universities are the labs of modern life, educating bold young people who are not afraid to experiment and are on their way to becoming professional contributors to their own country’s future. A classical university is not governed by pragmatic matters. Formulas do not apply here. This is the space for young people to develop critical thinking and become more open-minded. This is where the country’s future is built. Such is the Vytautas Magnus University of today.

Vytautas Magnus University keeps in step with the ever-changing world: renews itself, adapts to the demands and generates new ideas. The university encourages discovering other cultures and nurturing the public spirit. Special attention is paid to aspects more and more appreciated in the constantly changing planet – the maturation of ideas, expression of personality, communication, partnership. This allows VMU to remain an important and significant source of intellectual thought in Kaunas, Lithuania, Europe and the world.