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Obama handwrites apology to art history professor

Feb. 19, 2014 at 3:56 PM   |   Comments

AUSTIN, Texas, Feb. 19 (UPI) -- A University of Texas at Austin art history professor offended by President Obama's joke about art history majors said she received a handwritten apology.

Ann Collins Johns said she sent a message to the president through the White House's website after he took a dig at art history majors during a speech at a General Electric plant in Milwaukee last month, Politico reported Wednesday.

Obama told the crowd "folks can make a lot more potentially with skilled manufacturing or the trades than they might with an art history degree."

Art blog Hyperallergic said Johns' reply told Obama art history majors learn to think, read and write critically, which are valuable and versatile skills.

Johns said she was surprised to receive a letter from the White House in Obama's distinctive handwriting.

"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," the president wrote. "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."

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., apparently doesn't think the apology was warranted, tweeting: "Pathetic Obama apology to art history prof. We do need more degrees that lead to #jobs via @POLITICO."

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