- The Art of Manliness - http://www.artofmanliness.com -

Manliness in Higher Education

vintage college student coat books 1920s

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from Brad Revare. Mr. Revare is a junior at the University of Colorado-Boulder.

Robert Redford, the iconic actor of “The Natural,” is considered to be the most famous alumnus of the University of Colorado. His square jaw is plastered around campus and in alumni magazines. The story of his employment at a burger joint across the street from campus is common Colorado lore. However, I came across another famous alum that embodies manliness in physical prowess, intellectual ability, and pure leadership. I was surprised to find that no one casually mentions him in conversation about notable alumni of the university.

Housed in the Club Section of the football stadium at CU is an unobtrusive plaque and bust of Byron White. Some may know him as the Supreme Court Justice appointed by John F. Kennedy. However, there is a long trail of achievement and leadership left by him, including an impeccable resume that I feel should be the model for young men entering college today.

AoM recently published an article suggesting Senior Military Colleges [1] as a worthy option for young men who wish to acquire the necessary chutzpah to become manly men later in life.Yet it is also very possible to develop the skills necessary to lead a purposeful and manly life at any ordinary state school or non-military institution. Take Byron White for example. Here is a short list of his accomplishments in or right after college:

After reading just a few of his accomplishments, most would exclaim “What a man!” Of course, not every male in college right now aspires to any of those accomplishments. While I do think the stereotype of cheap beer drinking, lazy, and videogame playing male is overstated, it is prevalent and things need to change. The problem resides in that when a man steps onto a college campus along 25,000 other students, no one hands him a guide to becoming the best man he can be in four years time. This is that guide.

There are two maxims one should abide by if they intend to be a virulis vir (Latin for manly man) in college.¬† One is the clich√© Carpe Diem. No one is going to guide you through; you have to seize every moment to be your best. The second is one from Jim Collins, a well-known business performance researcher. In his research of Fortune 500 company CEO’s; the most successful were the ones who could exert professional will in the extreme. They were able to will themselves to change the business and exert influence over themselves and others, all for the achievement of the end goal. Keep these in mind as you read the article and go out to become a better man in college.

The guide is broken up into three areas: academics, leadership/service, and sports/discipline. Each section contains practical tips on how to excel in each area. We will start with academics.


vintage college classroom and lecture early 1900s

The manliest men in today’s society are smart, as they were in previous generations. If you go to college and coast through, you are wasting the golden opportunity in life that not everyone gets. Here are a few suggestions to make sure your academic rigor is up to snuff compared to great men in history:


Today’s effective and honorable men developed their leadership skills on college campuses. Barack Obama honed his oratorical skills as a student activist and his leadership ability as the editor of the Harvard Law Review. Most universities have a multitude of leadership opportunities; here are a few to get you started:

Sports & Discipline

vintage team sports photo late early 1900s

Many great men participated in sports in their college careers. Byron White was an all-American football player, Theodore Roosevelt boxed, and Bill Bradley was a star basketball player for Princeton. Sports, regardless of competitive level, give men in college a reason to stay in shape, and provide a discipline-focused framework for training and achieving. Here are a few examples of how you could do the same:

Book Recommendations

By simply acting to change your life with these steps, you can make a huge difference in your ambition. In addition, here are a few books that will help you reach these goals:

Editor’s Note: I’d be interested in any other books that readers would recommend to a young man about to go to college or who is in college.


College is a time of self-improvement and unsupervised fun. I’m not advocating work all the time and a serious, dour demeanor in the name of achievement. Rather, a healthy dose of ambition, achievement, and responsibility to improve yours and others’ circumstance can lead to a new generation of male leaders emerging from college campuses.