Friday, April 01, 2005

Remarkable Events

Last night, the Association that I lead held the first of a couple of celebrations of 50 years in operation. We did a reception in the state capitol. In it we chose to celebrate the work of the Association by highlighting the first of what promises to be 50 individuals who have led distinguished lives in some way and have a tie to an independent college. For example, we honored a professor who has spent 40 years at Biola University teaching in a number of areas. When you spoke with him, you found a remarkable dedication to the profession of teaching; genuine excitement about his life work. Another is a young capitol staffer who has probably another 40 years ahead of him but has already distinguished himself in the process. The third was president of St. Mary's college for almost 30 years. He helped to create a great books program at St. Mary's but unlike many other college presidents he actually lived in the dorms - then and now. A fourth was president of the Association before me but had a long career in public and independent higher education - as a professor and then an administrator. One who we will honor in the future has spent her entire career at the Claremont colleges helping students get admitted and then helping them in manifold ways while they were there. The final nominee last night is the Associate Dean of Admissions at Fresno Pacific University, a university with a Mennonite heritage, that has taken up the needs of its area in serving a completely new population of students.

None of these people are prominent. But the interesting thing to me about each of them was their commitment. Commitment to the sector. Commitment to leaving the world a bit better than they found it. That should not be remarkable, but it is.

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