Dear Honors Students,
It is my pleasure, as the new Director of the Honors Program, to welcome you to this semester’s participation in a community of academically gifted students. As I make this welcome, a summertime story comes to mind.
One July night, we Mattsonfolk went to Frankfort Pier to watch the sun fall into Lake Michigan. It was gusty and cool, and the water was dark around the huge rocks that line the pier. We inched up to the edge, eyeing the ten-foot drop, feeling the steepness of that drop at groin-level, warning our kids to stay on their buttocks. Along came some young adults, sauntering the pier in full body suits, carrying surfboards and talking in that gorgeously casual way twenty-year-olds can sometimes have. They walked just beyond us, tossed their boards into the surf, and, while we sat there hugging our knees and gaping, they flipped over backwards into the water. I haven’t seen anything that recklessly beautiful in too, too long.
That’s how a semester’s start feels, too: like a self-abandoned leap backwards into waves. But those surfers knew some things we didn’t know: they knew the water’s depth, they knew where the rocks were, and they knew each other. I pray that your experience of this Honors Program acquaints you with that kind of knowing. We aim, after all, to be a community that both supports and challenges—supporting you with knowledge about the best jumping-off points for good learning, challenging you to take the leaps that self-giving scholarship always requires.
Towards that support and that challenge, I look forward with you to the shared living and learning of the Honors Program. Please look for every-other-day electronic communications from me (on this blog), inviting you to reflection and, if you like, threaded responses. Consider yourself welcome to gather for weekly afternoon teas in the Green Room of the Art and Communication Center each Wednesday from 3:45 to 5:45. And, finally, please save the date for some more or less monthly cultural events we’ll attend together:
- September 30 (Fri 6:00p) – Gathering at Mattson home
- October 30 (Sun 3:00p) – Provision Theatre, BONHOEFFER’S COST
- November 5 (Sat 10:00-3:00) – Chicago Humanities Festival Events:
- February 11 (Fri 6:00-11:30p) – Chicago Symphony Orchestra – Schubert
- March 24 (Sat 10:00a-4:00) – Modern Art wing of Institute of Art
- April 29 (1:00-7:30) – Hike and Picnic at Starved Rock
At our first gathering, after the rush of the first few weeks of school, I hope we can talk in a more sustained way about a shared vision for the work of the Honors Program in the life of our College. Until then, I hope you will feel free to stop by my office, Groot Hall 262, and swap a summertime story or two.
Office – 708-239-4881
Cell – 630-926-1086