During a September walk along a riverside, the poet Theodore Roethke observed the “irregular stones” and “iridescent sandgrains” beneath the current. “My mind moves in more than one place,” he writes. “In a country half-land, half-water.”
Our minds are often in more than one place during the first days of September, as the projects of summer are engulfed by the rush of the new semester. We will salute some of the scholarly work done during the summer in the annual Celebration of Summer Research on Thursday, September 11, in Winter Hall from 3:30-5:00. Steve Contakes, Michael Everest, Frank Percival and their students will join Patti Hunter on a panel at 4:15 discussing their investigations and results. I'd also encourage you to take some time to survey the fruits of summer in a long list of your colleagues' scholarly and professional endeavors in the sidebar column.
During Orientation we welcomed one of the largest new classes in Westmont history (over 430). In their “First Lecture," Tom Knecht encouraged the new students to clarify and cling to their core convictions—the solid ground of their beliefs and values—but to let some partisan and provincial assumptions move to the periphery when the currents of new ideas come flowing in their collegiate studies. We do have a rich stream of speakers and forums this fall, and I am grateful for Aaron Sizer's efforts in the Gaede Institute to coordinate and promote several of them. This report accents a few of those events and opportunities that will occur in just the next thirty days. I hope they bring some moments of iridescence.