April 20, 2017

Presenting Our Best

As President, I am privileged to have many meaningful opportunities to share the Guilford story around the country. Whether participating in White House sponsored events or speaking at national gatherings for higher education, nonprofit organizations or leading businesses, I am always thrilled to make important new connections as I look to shine the light on Guilford.

My presentations, though, offer just a small glimpse of our mission in action. The full power of Guilford’s story is best experienced on campus, especially when you engage with our students — and what they are presenting.

Over the next few days and weeks we will experience the best of the best, as our students showcase the breadth and depth of their academic and co-curricular excellence. On Friday, we will celebrate the 10th Annual Guilford Undergraduate Symposium (GUS), featuring the vast talents and achievements of more than 100 students representing diverse disciplines. The festive day culminates with the Theatre Studies Department’s opening night performance of Misalliance.

April also brings the inspiring Bonner Scholars Senior Presentations, featuring 17 outstanding students who have given their hearts to more than 25,000 hours of community service immersed in issues related to food insecurity, homelessness and access to health care.

Graduating seniors in History, Creative Writing and other majors will also be taking the stage to share insights from their thesis work. Student creativity culminates in May, when our Art majors present their thesis exhibition, “Disparate.” This promises to be a fascinating display incorporating a variety of forms and subject interests.

What makes all of this especially exciting is what our students truly gain as they enjoy the fruits of their labor. More than simply understanding that great accomplishment requires hard work, our students are discovering the invigorating joy of doing that hard work.

That’s the essence of the message I recently shared in presenting the “Spirit Lecture” at the National Institute of Environmental Health. As author James Michener asserts, “A master in the art of living draws no distinction between (her) work and play. (To her, she) is always doing both.” My hope is that every Guilford student comes to embrace such a life orientation.