January 20, 2011
Yesterday I gave the last Convocation address I’ll give as Earlham’s President. Entitled “Once Again at the Crossroads (Aren’t We Always),” it revisits the five aspirations I outlined in my inauguration speech in March 1998, “Earlham as a Crossroads Community.”
Here’s the foundational metaphor: “Crossroads are where people come together, to talk and to work together,” I said. “Crossroads are places where collisions can happen, so it takes some careful design to ensure that the meetings benefit all who come. Crossroads are where conversations occur. They are where shared projects take shape. They are where celebrations take place. They are where choices are made and risks are taken. They are where the future unfolds. Earlham is such a place.”
The five aspirations (each a kind of crossroads) I sketched in 1998 and revisited yesterday concern (1) Earlham’s place within Quakerism, our (2) use of digital networks, (3) our embrace of diversity, (4) our relationship with Richmond, Indiana and (5) our commitment to “transformation” as an educational ideal.