President Merkle to visit Chicago this week

Posted on September 8, 2016

New Saint Andrews President, Dr. Ben Merkle, Visits Chicago

by Brianna Ruffatto


“More and more large companies are looking for something which they no longer know how to find,” says NSA President Dr. Ben Merkle, invoking a recent article in The Wall Street Journal.* According to Kate Davidson, the majority of employers are looking to hire workers with “soft skills.” Clear and persuasive communication, creativity, and critical thinking are highlighted, but few in the host of narrowly-trained specialists and technically-focused students graduating college fit these criteria. “It’s these skills,” Dr. Merkle says, “that are the fruit of a liberal arts education.”


Liberal arts degrees focus on a broad and challenging curriculum and hone coherent and effective communication, critical thinking, and creative innovation—the skills of leaders. They form the kind of people who do well in a world of different vocations. These imaginative, creative, life-long learners are the kind of people graduating with a liberal arts degree from New Saint Andrews College.


This is one topic among many that NSA President Dr. Ben Merkle plans to address this upcoming Monday, September 12th, in Chicago, Illinois. Dr. Merkle has the privilege to visit two classical Christian schools and one classical Christian homeschool co-op, where he will discuss with students and parents the invaluable blessings of a classical Christian education in general and what that looks like at New Saint Andrews College in particular. He hopes to support and encourage these schools and organizations in their mission during his visits.


He will meet first with Classical Consortium, an ACCS affiliated organization of classical home-schooling, which has seen some of its students recently graduate with honors from NSA and has more attending currently as well. Later, he will visit Clapham School in Wheaton, IL and meet with the administrative teams there.


Lastly, Dr. Merkle will speak with students and parents at Covenant Classical School in Naperville, IL to discuss the purpose of classical Christian education, its many blessings, and how it supports practical vocations in years to come. He has also been invited to speak about Beowulf, Alfred the Great, and Anglo-Saxon culture, having written The White Horse King and translated some of King Alfred’s work earlier in his academic career. Covenant Classical School warmly invites anyone interested to join in the open Q & A with Dr. Merkle at 7 PM in the Wheatland Salem Church. More trips are planned in the near future, as he will be visiting Montana in the following week.


“By the excellence of his work the workman is a neighbor.

By selling only what he would not despise to own the salesman is a neighbor.

By selling what is good his character survives his market.”

—Wendell Berry, Farming: A Handbook


Dr. Ben Merkle, fellow of theology and President of New Saint Andrews College, holds a D.Phil. in Oriental Studes and an M.St. in Jewish Studies from Oxford University, England. Dr. Merkle is the author of The White Horse King: The Life of Alfred the Great and Defending the Trinity in the Reformed Palatinate: The Elohistae. Dr. Merkle has served as a minister at Christ Church, Moscow. He has taught at New Saint Andrews for over a decade, and in 2015, Dr. Merkle was promoted to the office of President. He and his wife Bekah, the first graduate of New Saint Andrews, have five children. Contact him at or (208) 882-1566.

*Kate Davidson, “The 'Soft Skills' Employers Are Looking For,” The Wall Street Journal (August 30, 2016).


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