President Obama penned an apology letter to an art history professor taken aback by his jab at students who majored in the subject.
“Let me apologize for my off-the-cuff remarks,” Obama wrote to Ann Collins Johns, a professor at the University of Texas at Austin who emailed the White House. “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.”
At a speech in Milwaukee last month, Obama suggested that students would be better served pursuing studies in manufacturing than majoring in art history.
“Folks can make a lot more potentially with skilled manufacturing or the trades than they might with an art history degree,” Obama said, before adding, “I don’t want to get a bunch of emails from everybody.”
The art history professor describes herself as an Obama fan but said she reached out to the president to explain the scope of her field.
Obama told the art historian to convey his apology to the rest of her department.
“I was trying to encourage young people,” Obama said, “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.”