The Arbor | News for May from Jerry Weakley
May is always one of my favorite months on the Baldwin campus. In the past I have talked about the levels of green that have re-emerged from a winter of sleep along with the beauty of the flowers in beds spread all across campus. The beauty of the dogwood and other blooming bushes and trees was spectacular this year and in no small way helped make up for the brutal and decidedly stark nature of the winter.
I arrived on campus one morning late in April, fully aware of the beauty before me—not only that beauty taken in by my eyes, but the beauty of the serenity of the place where students and faculty were once again going about their daily routines of teaching and learning. It was then that I was reminded of an old quote that I had heard many years ago that spoke to the “beauty of a university.” I carried that thought on into my office and found the precise quote that I will share. It comes from John Edward Masefield, (1 June 1878 – 12 May 1967). He was an English poet and writer, and Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom from 1930 until his death in 1967. He is the author of numerous children’s novels and numerous memorable poems, including “The Everlasting Mercy” and “Sea-Fever.” I think the poem is entirely appropriate, particularly as we graduate some 900+ students this month and as we continue with our intensive self-study within the accreditation process that you will read about in this month’s issue. For now, however, the poem. Enjoy!
“There are few earthly things more beautiful than a University. It is a place where those who hate ignorance may strive to know, where those who perceive truth may strive to make others see; where seekers and learners alike, banded together in the search for knowledge, will honor thought in all its finer ways, will welcome thinkers in distress or in exile, will uphold ever the dignity of thought and learning and will exact standards in these things. They give to the young in their impressionable years the bond of a lofty purpose shared, of a great corporate life whose links will not be loosed until they die. They give young people that close companionship for which youth longs, and that chance of the endless discussion of themes which are endless—without which youth would seem a waste of time. There are few earthly things more splendid that a University. In these days of broken frontiers and collapsing values—when every future looks somewhat grim, and every ancient foothold has become something of a quagmire, wherever a University stands, it stands and shines; wherever it exists, the free minds of men, urged on to full and fair inquiry, may still bring wisdom into human affairs.”
In truth, it IS the University where learning and inquiring minds engage in profound, in precise, and in creative thinking, and that, in itself, is a beautiful process to observe. I hope each of our new graduates have in one small way or other found and enjoyed all the possible beauty afforded by this wonderful place!
Find the rest of this month’s stories in the current issue of the Arbor. I hope you will find several items within that will inform, entertain or re-engage you!
Jerry Weakley ’70/MBA ’92