For several years, the senior director for alumni relations has invited me to share my impressions of current life on the Trinity campus in remarks during Alumni Weekend. Â Iâ€™ve titled those observations, â€œDown Memory Lane â€“ and Beyond.â€ Â
Since Iâ€™ve served this community since 1958, the alums who attend the presentation represent a mind boggling age range, but, interestingly, I remember them all as youngsters in their late teens and early twenties. Â They remember me as I was when they were students: some recall me as I was at 24, others, as I was at 54 and even 64 â€œand beyond.â€ Â Trust me, this makes for a perplexing encounter for all.
In preparing my remarks, I endeavored for years to present fresh observations and recently discovered inspirational quotations, but, eventually, I realized that at each Alumni Weekend most in the audience havenâ€™t attended previous speeches. Thus, shamefully, I recycle my remarks, only updating by including anonymous opinions of current students in my classes. Â I rationalize that this tiny update makes my speech fresh and apt.
I feel no guilt in doing this; it is my recollection that most alums through the years/decades never paid much attention to what I said or wrote in a memo stuffed in their post office boxes (in those days before email), so I will likely be the only one recognizing recycled material.
But, I must admit that I loved the responses to this yearâ€™s â€œopinion surveyâ€ and can hardly wait to share them. Â The approximately fifty students in the three classes I teach were surprisingly of like minds in…their responses to my question: â€œWhat…. aspects of campus â€“ faculty/staff, fellow students, facilities, grounds, technological resource â€“ do you most appreciate and/or value?â€
Here are some of my favorite responses: â€œRelationships with both faculty/staff and students have made this experience worthwhile. Â I feel so supported and encouraged here. Â Trinity is full of lovely, passionate people.â€
â€œI most appreciate approachable and caring professors and the infinite resources at my finger tips.â€
â€œProfessors 100%. I think this is the only time in my life when such smart, talented, accomplished, dedicated people will actually care about me and what I have to say. Â The superb faculty is the best gift of Trinity.â€
How about that? Â If your answer would not be somewhat similar, I dare to suggest that you arenâ€™t taking advantage of the best aspect of attending this institution. Â Even if you are a graduating senior, itâ€™s not too late. Â Seize the opportunity to enrich your life by accepting this rare advantage of a Trinity University education.
While you are doing that, I, of course, will continue to try to sneak into my Alumni Weekend remarks a few student views that Iâ€™ve used for years in response to: â€œWhat do you know now that you wish youâ€™d known before attending Trinityâ€?
â€œYou can run, but you canâ€™t hide on this campus.â€
â€œâ€˜His transitions were excellent,â€™ is a good thing to say when youâ€™ve been called on in English class but werenâ€™t paying attention.â€
â€œLiquor before beer, and youâ€™re clear. Â Beer before liquor and youâ€™ve never been sicker.â€
And, an all-time favorite: â€œItâ€™s better to be yourself than pretend to be something youâ€™re not.â€
As always when I â€œreviseâ€ these remarks for alums, I remind myself of Trinity Universityâ€™s remarkable legacy and rich promise. Â It doesnâ€™t hurt for me to remind you as well. Â