A year and a half ago, I sat in Linner Lounge listening to the reflections of the students who had just returned from Hurricane Katrina relief work in Mississippi. They spoke about their sense of community with one another, with the people of Ocean Springs, with the dispossessed and disenfranchised everywhere. They spoke about their responsibility to understand the sources of that dispossession and their obligation to work to ameliorate it. They spoke about their responsibility to serve others and of their obligation to live morally responsible lives.
At times, I have wondered whether being a non-Lutheran might impede my full engagement with the aims and purposes of the College. As I sat listening to these students talk about how that experience epitomized, for them, what it meant to be a Gustie, I was reassured that no such obstacle existed. My active involvement in the life of the College, in the classroom, in public fora, and in personal interactions with students, fellow faculty, and staff evidences my commitment to the common life of the College as a place that aspires to “respect and affirm the dignity of all persons,” to nurture lives of service, and to “work toward a just and peaceful world.”