If you're ever spending time with Nate Wiley and John Buchmann, don't be surprised if a conversation about the cafeteria menu for the day suddenly turns into a conversation about the meaning of life. Best friends, neighbors and fellow philosophy majors, the two are famous for effortlessly transitioning from everyday small talk to existentialist debates replete with four-syllable words and Augustinian rhetoric.
The two met during Buchmann’s sophomore year at Geneva after Wiley transferred in from Valley Forge Christian College as a junior. Fast companions, they continually spur one another on to greater levels of thought, critique and scholarship.
“We seek to progress in our understanding of the big questions in life,” says John. “We also analyze arguments and construct our own.”
While John spent a semester studying abroad at Oxford in England during their junior year, Nate was far from bored without his debate partner. He was busy at work on a thesis on a topic in Aristotle, a project he considers his most satisfying academic achievement thus far.
Both young men credit much of their academic intelligence and success to their education and professors at Geneva.
“Students are not simply inculcated, they are instructed. They are not treated like robots to be programmed,” says Nate. “The philosophy program doesn't put one through a rigid, sterile, algorithmic four-year schedule. Geneva’s curriculum is fluid. It flows from the classroom into conversations and essays and presentations.”
John agrees: “The wisdom gained in philosophy flows into all of life. Our professors love God and love their students, and philosophy is seen as a source of personal growth and societal change.”
The two recent graduates attest to a program that has well prepared them for their futures with skills that include logical and critical thinking, researching and writing, presenting and defending ideas and being exposed to in the broad spectrum of the history of philosophy and important primary texts.
“Students and faculty here see themselves as fulfilling a call, a mission,” says John. “We seek students who desire to help us fulfill that mission.”
- by Brooke Prokopchak ('08)
John Buchmann is from Indiana, Pa., the Christmas tree capital of the world and birthplace of James Stewart. He graduated from Geneva on May 12, 2007. John completed his master's degree in theological studies at Duke University Divinity School in May 2009 and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in religious ethics at the University of Chicago.
Nate Wiley is from Limerick, Pa. He graduated beside his friend on May 12, 2007. Nate is entering his fourth year of living in Japan. He is currently studying for a variety of Japanese proficiency exams. He is also doing independent research in Kyoto School of Philosophy, particularly Keiji Nighitani, in hopes of earning a scholarship from the Japanese Ministry of Education to enroll as a research student at Kyoto University.