New York Times columnist David Brooks has made a list of things a student can do to get a good education, even if she is forced to attend an inadequate school such as Harvard.

Here is my favorite suggestion:

“Take a course on ancient Greece. For 2,500 years, educators knew that the core of their mission was to bring students into contact with heroes like Pericles, Socrates and Leonidas. ‘No habit is so important to acquire,’ Aristotle wrote, as the ability ‘to delight in fine characters and noble actions.’ Alfred North Whitehead agreed, saying, ‘Moral education is impossible without the habitual vision of greatness.’

“That core educational principle was abandoned about a generation ago, during a spasm of radical egalitarianism. And once that principle was lost, the entire coherence of higher education was lost with it. So now you’ve got to find your own ways to learn about history’s heroes, the figures who will serve as models to emulate and who will provide you with standards to use to measure your own conduct. Remember, as the British educator Richard Livingstone once wrote, ‘One is apt to think of moral failure as due to weakness of character: more often it is due to an inadequate ideal.'”