Viewpoint

Letter from the President

In the spring of 1973 I was finishing my first year as an assistant professor of political science at Michigan State University, my first college job. It happened to be the same year “The Way We Were,” sung by Barbra Streisand, won the Oscar for Best Original Song in a movie.

Now, 40 years later and 12 years after arriving in Greensboro from Maine, the lyrics of that timeless song are more meaningful than ever. “Memories, light the corners of my mind …” When I step down as president in June, I’ll have countless good memories.

We’ve accomplished much. My goal always has been to leave the College better than I found it, and I have no doubt that together – students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends of the College – we shall.

As I consider my years as president, a few “scattered pictures” run through my mind.

FOUNDERS WALK BANNERS.

These remind us of the seven Core Values we affirmed in our first strategic planning process. We work to embody community, diversity, equality, excellence, integrity, justice and stewardship in our daily lives. We are committed to walk the talk.

CAMPUS ICONS.

We celebrated the lives of several who passed from us – “Mr. Guilford” Charlie Hendricks,  Stuart “The Rock” Maynard, Jack Jensen and Margaret Boyd among others. I learned that what makes Guilford special are the bonds between people, especially students and faculty members.

BOX CUTTERS.

Guilford had emptied for fall break 2003 when student Nat Heatwole ’05 called attention to box cutters he placed on Southwest Airlines flights. Was it civil disobedience? Regardless, it was a teachable moment. Nat is now a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Southern California’s Center for Homeland Security.

THE SHOT SEEN ROUND THE WORLD.

Little did we know how much attention Jordan Snipes ’07 would receive for hitting a full-court, game-winning shot during a January 2005 Quaker basketball game. Video of the shot on YouTube has been viewed nearly 11 million times.

There are innumerable other snapshots: helping first year students and their families during August move in, giving Golden Circle medallions to alumni celebrating the 50th anniversary of their graduation, and welcoming the campus community to Ragsdale House for the holiday reception every December.

This May, on another glorious morning on the quad, we’ll send about 500 new graduates into the world, ready for their next step. Toward the end of the ceremony, I’ll offer a final few words in a charge to the graduates – and indeed the College. Until then we will be busy educating and learning, recruiting new students and a new president, fundraising, serving the greater community, and more.

My career will end where it began, in a classroom. After a year’s sabbatical, I’ll return to Guilford to do what I love best, to teach.

It’s been an amazing 12 years. Thank you for joining me on this journey and for supporting a place that is special to all of us.

Kent John Chabotar

President and Professor of Political Science