From time to time I reflect on what makes an academic community strong and enduring. To be sure, there are many moving parts in an organization as complex as a college that keep things running, but there is also a unified spirit of commitment passed from one generation to the next that is even more powerful. As the legacy of commitment is passed, the college gradually changes as an organization, but endures as a legacy through the dedication of those who hold the mission, vision and values as a trust.
As I have conversations with faculty, staff, students, alumni, friends and trustees of Central College I am impressed by the shared sense of purpose that lives in the minds and hearts of those who have been shaped by this unique experience. I am first taken with the depth of demonstrated commitment. We speak often of the values of this community as a place where relationships matter, where students pursue wide variety of curricular and co-curricular experiences, and where the development of the individual is seen as comprehensive in mind, body and spirit. These values run deeply and each generation has found a meaningful way to live those values throughout our history.
Second, I see in our commitment the ability to sustain the college through times of great opportunity and periods of great challenge. Central College is more than 160 years old and has been sustained through wars in our own land and in regions far away. We have seen economic pressures and demographic shifts cycle through American society across generations. Fires in the early 20th century robbed of space and equipment dearly needed, but eventually replaced. Etched into our very landscape are the lines of age reminding us that experience brings wisdom, deep roots and enduring strength. We are sustained by a commitment to meaningful tradition and creative innovation, and our call today is to sustain our commitment in the future by being mission-driven and market-smart.
Third, the precious legacy of commitment that is ours is represented in the partnerships that make us strong. Many of these partnerships have been with us for generations as families have passed on a determination to deepen the strength of the college and sustain its success. Corporations and foundations have been very generous in bringing support to the college for its people and programs. Acts of kindness too numerous to list have opened doors, made connections and volunteered help year after year. Our legacy is a rich one, made possible by committed partners.
There is no way to adequately express our appreciation to the vast Central family around the world, but we on campus today honor your commitment through our hard work and dedication to preserving the legacy. Thank you for the power of your enduring commitment.