Saturday, February 13, 2010

Excuse me, there's something in my eye

No one relishes getting up early on Saturday morning and going to work. But sometimes there are compensations.

I arrived on campus at about 8:15 this morning for our annual sophomore matriculation event. In order to continue into the Honors Interdisciplinary Studies minor, second-year students read documents important to the program's founding and prepare ten-minute presentations on some academic subject. They spend the morning fanned out across the campus in groups of four or five, discussing the values of the program, giving their talks, and fielding questions.

Not five minutes after I walked into the auditorium, the students began arriving, dressed for success. And interspersed among them came alumni, nearly twenty of them, who volunteered for the chance to spend a Saturday morning with these students as moderators for their small group sessions.

More than 100 sophomores were in that room by the time the program was to start. And I felt a kind of giddy happiness that these nineteen- and twenty-year-olds were up early on a Saturday morning to follow in the footsteps of the thousand who have gone before them. It was icing on the cake that among them were some of those thousand -- their predecessors, from twenty years ago to last year's graduates, who were so eager to come back and experience a little bit of the Honors experience again that they gave up a weekend morning of their own free will and traveled from all over the region to meet them.

Anybody would be thrilled to work in an institution that inspires that kind of devotion and excitement. And I get to be reminded of it every year -- never more forcefully than on Sophomore Lecture Saturday. It's an honor and a joy, and there's no better recompense for losing out on sleeping late.

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