On January 30, President Obama gave a speech at a General Electric Plant in Milwaukee where he accidentally took shots at art history majors everywhere. He said,
"A lot of young people no longer see the trades and skilled manufacturing as a viable career, but I promise you, folks can make a lot more potentially with skilled manufacturing or the trades than they might with an art history degree...Nothing wrong with an art history degree, I love art history. I don’t want to get a bunch of emails from everybody. I’m just saying, you can make a really good living and have a great career without getting a four-year college education, as long as you get the skills and training that you need."
Hyperallergic reports that art historian Ann Collins Johns, a professor at University of Texas at Austin, received a handwritten note on February 12 from Obama himself, in response to a letter she posted on the White House website. She didn't save her email, which was sent via a submission form, but she tells Hyperallergic, "I’m pretty sure that my email was not so much one of outrage at his statement, but rather a 'look at what we do well' statement. I emphasized that we challenge students to think, read, and write critically."
A full transcription of the note is on Hyperallergic, and the scans that Johns posted on her Facebook are above and below. Looks like Obama felt pretty bad about his comment, and how it may have been misinterpreted, after all.