President Obama apologized to a University of Texas art history professor after joking that folks could make more money learning manufacturing skills than art history during a speech late last month.

"Let me apologize for my off-the-cuff remarks. I was making a point about the jobs market, not the value of art history," the president said in a handwritten note to Professor Ann Collins Johns, who sent Obama a letter using the White House website. "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."

Obama asks Johns to pass on his apology for the "glib remark" to her entire department.

"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," he continued.

The apology comes despite an initial effort at damage control during his remarks at the General Electric engine plant outside Milwaukee, Wis.

"I promise you, folks can make a lot more, potentially, with skilled manufacturing or the trades than they might with an art history degree," Obama said. "Now, nothing wrong with an art history degree — I love art history. So I don't want to get a bunch of emails from everybody."