Warmth and some sunshine have finally come back after this seemingly endless winter and dreary spring. On one of the first warm days, I took a slow walk, and I suddenly realized that a vibrant green was glowing from tree canopies and almost pulsating along the roadsides and deep in the fields. I was glad that I had taken some quiet time and noticed after this busy academic year. Continue Reading »
There is a discussion underway on campus about whether we should create a multicultural center, and if we do, what it would be like. This is an important discussion for several reasons. First, those who think a multicultural center is necessary are explaining why and sharing their concerns with us, sharing what it is like for them to be here on campus. Second this discussion is forcing the institution to look at itself through a different lens than it normally does. And third, it is obliging us to consider the daily realities of our students as we evaluate our institutional priorities. Continue Reading »
When the trustees were here last weekend, I shared a compelling article with them— “Ways Today’s Students Are Radically Changing Our Colleges” from AGB Trusteeship magazine. The article reviews the findings of a six-year national study involving 33 campuses and thousands of students and concludes that students today are “different from their predecessors in ways that have profound implications for colleges.” Three similar studies were conducted between 1969 and 1993. Continue Reading »
One of the great aspects of Middlebury is that it provides almost unlimited opportunities for students to grow—to engage with others, to learn about different viewpoints, and to gain self-knowledge. From guest lectures to symposia to open meetings to retreats, the options go on and on.
By the time students graduate, if they have taken advantage of these, they have gained powerful exposure to a much wider community of people than they had known before. They have hopefully improved their ability to work with others and have developed a better understanding of themselves as well.
However, most of these opportunities are voluntary—you have to opt in to get the benefit. Continue Reading »
It’s that time of year, when the darkness descends and the days seem to retreat into a long dusk. Add to that the “List of Things To Get Done”—before finals, before the College closes for break, before the holidays, and it can lead me into a frazzled, dazed state.
What lifts me up is knowing that decent, human warmth exists in many hearts, in many places. Random acts of kindness, it seems, aren’t really random; they are commonplace. Generosity and joy are all around us—but we often don’t notice because we are overwhelmed and preoccupied with our own busy lives. Continue Reading »
It was a pleasure meeting many of you yesterday when I saw you during Voices of the Class in Mead Chapel and addressing you last night. I was struck by the high energy and enthusiasm of your class, and I look forward to getting to know you over the next four years. As you settle in to Middlebury’s life and pace, I hope you will soon feel at home here. Continue Reading »
One of the most rewarding aspects of my job is having the opportunity to learn more about our incredible students—the personal stories that make up their lives, what they hoped for before they arrived here and hope for in the future, what their families have sacrificed in order for them to attend Middlebury. By the time our seniors graduate, they have become so much more to me than names on a list or faces passing by on campus. They are friends and colleagues—people for whom I have a great deal of respect and admiration. Continue Reading »