President′s Message: Knowing Life As A Whole

By William E. Troutt


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In marking our move to Memphis in 1925, President Charles Diehl described our institution as “one which was vitally concerned with scholarship, but which was even more concerned with character; an institution which believes in…real moral values; an institution which stands for the essential permanence of truth, beauty, and goodness.”

Dr. Diehl’s objective, then, is what we continue to seek: “To teach…students something of human life…and the world, and to lead them to master human life; to know it as a whole.”  

Today we express this commitment to excellence through our vision statement. “Rhodes aspires to graduate students with a lifelong passion for learning, compassion for others, and the ability to translate academic study and personal concern into effective leadership and action.”  

I am pleased to introduce to you three of our second-year students—three examples of hundreds of our students who are living out these values in the classroom and through teaching and learning in Memphis.

  • Monica Huerta ’07, of Dickson, TN, a biology major and music minor, who is working as a research fellow with Dr. Elizabeth Adderson at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital to study streptococcus agalactiae, a pathogen that plagues newborn infants, pregnant women and immuno-compromised adults. 
  • Memphis’ own Joshua Jefferies ’07 whose Rhodes Summer Service Fellowship enabled him to work as a counselor for the Stax Music Academy, which serves inner-city minority youth. Josh continues to teach music to youngsters who would otherwise have no access to music instruction. 
  • Sarah Rutherfore ’07 from Hamilton, GA, a Rhodes Student Associate who is preparing for her career in journalism by writing bylined faculty, staff and student profiles for rhodes.edu. Not content with that, Sarah has been accepted as a 2005 Regional Studies Institute fellow where she will research the poetry of the blues.

At Rhodes we have always understood that for students “to know life as a whole” they must receive a full range of educational experiences. You and I share the privilege of belonging to a community that values the education of both the head and the heart. We understand that students flourish through full participation in a blend of pursuits—study, research, internships and service.

As we create new opportunities such as the Rhodes St. Jude Summer Plus Program, Rhodes Service Scholarships and Fellowships, the Regional Studies Institute and the Rhodes Student Associates program, we improve the quality of the educational experience. To put it simply, as we provide students with more opportunities to “know life as a whole,” we move closer to our vision for Rhodes.

As Rhodes graduates, you understand this better than anyone. I hope you fi nd it gratifying to have this small preview of some of the future alumni who will be joining your ranks just two years from now.