I want to take a moment to discuss a personal matter.
There’s a lot of rumors going around that the administration here at Middlebury College is set to announce in a few hours that the New Library will be named after me. I want to set the record straight: if chosen, I will refuse the honor.
It’s true that I’ve contributed $1.55 or more to the New Library fund on a weekly basis, asking nothing in return (except maybe sometimes a cup of coffee). I’m not saying I don’t deserve the honor because, frankly, I do. The Presidential Power blog alone is enough to merit naming a building after me. And yet I teach classes and conduct research too!
But, as I’ve told my students many times, I’m not in this profession for the glory, or the meaningless awards. No, to me seeing the tears run down the face of a first-year student as they grasp – truly grasp! – the significance of Federalist #10 – well, that’s all the reward I need. That and a few months off every summer. And maybe during the academic year as well. Oh, and winter term too – I could use that off.
I want to thank everyone who lobbied on my behalf. And I admit it would have been nice to show my kids the new library with my name emblazoned above the door. But in the end, what is more permanent? A structure of bricks and mortar – or the knowledge imparted in this blog?
I think we know the answer to that.