Taking a Breath and Giving Thanks

As students begin to pack up for visits to family and friends, the campus itself seems to take a deep breath. On Thanksgiving morning the bleachers will be filled for the annual Xavier vs. Middletown High School football game, and then there will be a few days of unusual quiet (he writes, hopefully). I met with my class yesterday, and when they return there will only be a couple of weeks left in the semester. The term flies by so quickly! This brief pause in the semester’s frenetic activities gives us the opportunity to remember the things for which we are grateful. I’ll just mention a few here:

Students: When I met with a group of sons and daughters of Wesleyan alumni this weekend, I told them that the key aspect in finding the right school is to get a feel for the student culture that has developed on campus over the years. Wesleyan continues to attract marvelously creative, hard-working, fun-loving and civic-minded young people who make the most of their time in Middletown. I am grateful to be able to teach them, learn from them, and cheer as they strive to perform at the highest level.

Faculty: During the Thanksgiving “break” professors here will be grading exams, commenting on papers, or writing their own articles and books. The scholar-teachers at Wesleyan are remarkable for their dedication, their caring and rigorous approach to students, and their consistent ability to shape the scholarly fields in which they work.  I am proud to be their colleague, and grateful to work side by side with them.

Staff: Often the unsung heroes of the campus are the hundreds of employees who make the place run. From planning events for prospective students to making sure graduation and reunion go smoothly, our staff have impressively high standards for the work they do. And they consistently meet those standards even in difficult times. Wesleyan benefits so much from the support and creative problem solving abilities of its staff, and my family and I are lucky to live and work in a place where dedication and hard work are built into the fabric of the campus.

Alumni and Parents: Meeting alumni and parents from around the world who are active in a wide array of endeavors has been one of the most enjoyable aspects of being president here. They are proud of alma mater and eager to be helpful to current students beginning to make their way in the world. I am so thankful for the generosity and thoughtfulness of the extended Wesleyan community.

Above all, I am grateful for the patience, support and affection of my family. They make everything else possible, and I’m looking forward to having a little extra time with them during this break.

Happy Thanksgiving!