President Barack Obama extended a personal apology to a University of Texas at Austin art professor who took offense to “off-the-cuff” remarks he made about art history during a speech at a General Electric plant outside of Milwaukee last month.
In context, the POTUS was pointing to the potential to earn a solid income without the benefit of a college education. To make his point, he used art history as an example of a college degree which doesn’t often lead to viable employment.
He immediately realized that the comment would probably be misconstrued and offered the following clarification:
“I love art history. I don’t want to get a bunch of emails from everybody. I’m just saying, you can make a really good living and have a great career without getting a four-year college education, as long as you get the skills and training that you need.”
But UT of A Professor Ann Collins Johns still did not take kindly to President Obama’s remarks and wrote a message to him via WhiteHouse.gov pointing out the importance of art history.
In response, the president wrote her back a personal note which read:
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.
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.
Johns, who is an Obama supporter said that she was shocked that the POTUS wrote her back:
“What I did NOT expect is that THE MAN HIMSELF would write me an apology. So now I’m totally guilty about wasting his time,” Johns wrote on Facebook.
See President Obama’s remarks below: