By President William E. Troutt
August 22, 2007, was a remarkable day for Rhodes. We officially began our 159th session celebrating the importance of the liberal arts and our vision for Rhodes. The afternoon heat and humidity quickened our faculty procession to Evergreen Presbyterian Church for opening convocation. Inside the cool sanctuary, Marshall Boswell delivered a beautifully-crafted address to the Class of 2011.
Like the gifted Rhodes professors who helped shape your life, Professor Boswell did a masterful job of connecting with our entering class through references to both his own academic journey and contemporary student culture. He presented a compelling picture of how the liberal arts equips one for a “real world” that increasingly requires nimble thinking and creative problem solving. He described the wide range of opportunities Rhodes provides that allow our students to connect classroom experience to the broader world outside, from internships and study abroad programs to service learning courses and fellowships. “If you believe that education should be as experiential as possible,” he said, “then you’ve come to the right place.” In this issue of Rhodes, Andy Greer’s experiences in his article, “One Student’s Journey,” and the archaeological work of students and faculty in “Digging for the Truth” drive the point home.
There was another celebration on August 22 held in the Palmer Cloister—adding nine generous supporters to the college’s Benefactors’ Circle—Spence and Becky Wilson who most recently established a scholarship program and a Chair in Humanities; Nancy ’51 and Arthur Fulmer for their generous endowment gifts including the Fulmer Chair in Political Science; Phil and Mabel McNeill who established the McNeill Family Scholarship Program; Bill ’69 and Pam Michaelcheck who recently created the Michaelcheck Endowment Fund to support students as they learn at Rhodes; Mike and Linda Curb who established the Curb Institute for Music; the Plough Foundation that established the Plough Professorship in Urban Studies; the Robert and Ruby Priddy Charitable Trust that funds both Rhodes CARES and CODA; Axon Brown and Bryan Morgan who established the L. Palmer Brown III Service Fellowship; and Charles ’65 and Patricia Robertson who created the Jack H. Taylor Fellowship in Physics.
In different ways, each of our major benefactors is supporting the life-changing liberal arts education Marshall Boswell described.
The Campaign for Rhodes on which we embark this month gives everyone who loves Rhodes an opportunity to join these major benefactors, all of our trustees and our faculty and staff in advancing our Vision for Rhodes. Every gift will make a difference.
Every gift helps us reach our $250 million goal. Every gift supports students, faculty and the type of life-changing liberal arts education our vision describes.
You know how much keeping Rhodes affordable matters. You know how important it is to support the faculty and staff who make such a difference in the lives of students.
We have never had a more ambitious goal or more compelling reasons to give. With your support, we will achieve our goal. That will be another remarkable day for Rhodes.