From the Arbor | News for January from Jerry Weakley
I begin this month’s opening page of the Arbor with my most sincere hopes that you had a wonderful Christmas and New Year. The few days I enjoyed away from my office on the Baldwin City campus were good for both mind and soul and allowed me to get caught up (to a certain extent) with a stack of items that had gone long unnoticed, or at least overlooked, on the edge of my desk.
There in that collection (a more scholarly word than “stack”) I discovered an old dog-eared copy of a Baker University News Bulletin from the fall semester of my sophomore year (1967 for those of you keeping score at home). The presence of this old publication in this particular assemblage was a mystery. But, then again, I was not entirely surprised, because stranger things have been found on my desk through the years.
Regardless of how this particular back issue of this Baker publication came to be in this collection, I certainly enjoyed looking back through its contents and used some of what I read in this issue of the Arbor.
Having just completed the winter commencement ceremonies in December, I think it entirely appropriate to begin with a poem from that news bulletin attributed to John Masefield (1878-1967, Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom from 1930 until his death in 1967). I am certain that it has been quoted at numerous commencement exercises but feel that it speaks to me in this current day, and hopefully to you as well.
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 than 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.
Access the current issue of the Arbor. I hope that you will enjoy it and find something within that will further engage you with Baker!
Jerry Weakley, ’70, M.B.A. ’92