President's Monthly Reflection

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January 2016-<i>The Time that is Truly Ours</i>

January 2016-The Time that is Truly Ours

During the Christmas holidays, I once again read W. H. Auden’s For the Time Being: A Christmas Oratorio. It is a long and sometimes opaque poem. But I keep coming back to it because, each year, it has something new to say. One of the most familiar parts of the poem is the last section, in which he talks about returning to “normal” after Christmas. We have caught a glimpse ...
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November 2015-The Purposes of Pilgrimage

Signs abound of the upcoming holiday season. The mailbox is overflowing with catalogues from hopeful retailers. Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks are already featuring seasonal flavors and décor. Popular magazines highlight articles about how to manage holiday stress—brought on by other questions ...
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September 2015 - <i>The Globe is Here</i>

September 2015 - The Globe is Here

My husband Paul and I were privileged to welcome the world to our supper table on a recent Friday evening. Forty-six Houghton students from 24 countries of the world, not counting the United States or Canada, gathered at our home for ...
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August 2015 - The Love of Truth

As part of my weekly professional discipline, I read the Chronicle of Higher Education. I approach the Chronicle expecting information rather than inspiration, so it was an unexpected and pleasant surprise to come upon Barry Schwartz’s article Intellectual Virtues ...
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July 2015 - <i>A Counter-Cultural Virtue</i>

July 2015 - A Counter-Cultural Virtue

Recently, I nearly missed an important opportunity to be grateful. Over the July 4th weekend, I spoke at Camp Cedarbrook in the Adirondacks as part of their 50th anniversary celebration. I had worked at the camp from 1976 to 1980 when it was known as Camp Cherith but stopped going when graduate school began to take up my summers. I had not been back in nearly 35 years ...
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June 2015 - <i>To Struggle Against Ourselves</i>

June 2015 - To Struggle Against Ourselves

As you put together your list of summer reading, I would highly recommend David Brooks’ newest book, The Road to Character. It is accessible and organized into self-contained chapters, so you can conveniently intersperse your reading with the various windows of leisure time that your summer allows. It is also deeply nourishing ...
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May 2015 - <i>Always Christmas</i>

May 2015 - Always Christmas

Thanks to the Class of 2015, Houghton College now has a perpetual Christmas tree. The tree will serve to symbolize many things in our community. As one speaker reminded us at the dedication, we will never again be able to say of Houghton what was said of Narnia ...
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April 2015 - <i>Trouble and Joy</i>

April 2015 - Trouble and Joy

“When I’m in trouble with a painting, I know there is something to be learned. In fact, I sometimes actually enjoy getting myself into trouble for that reason.” This statement came in the course of a casual conversation with alumnus artist Ben Frank Moss as he ...
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