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The secret of a satisfying life is to have grown and learned. One of the best ways we do that is through travel—to celebrate milestones such as a wedding or anniversary, give ourselves a break from routine or reconnect with friends and family. My wife, Gail, and I enjoyed celebrating my son’s college graduation in Oregon in June. Travel also teaches us. We encounter other cultures, learn about the past or acquire fresh insights. This summer, the College’s men’s basketball team competed in the Czech Republic; our College Chorale and Jazz Band absorbed Brazil’s vibrant culture as they performed and took in the sights of beautiful Rio de Janeiro; and members of our social work and biology faculty helped students, staff members and friends of the College learn about the challenges of orphaned children in Vietnam. (You can read about some of these travels on page 4.) Less exotically, I visited Fort Ticonderoga in upstate New York to help prepare a lecture for my new course this fall, “Peace and War in a Global World.” I look very much forward to returning to the classroom and working with students.
Travel also puts the familiar in a new light. Vacationing in Vermont this summer, I bought books at a library sale from a Vietnam veteran and former high school teacher from Philadelphia. He said he often sent students to Elizabethtown College because of our reputation for nurturing learning in a supportive community: “I told them you take care of people.”
Travel can be inward, as well. Thoreau wrote that he had traveled a great deal in Concord. Here at Elizabethtown College, within just a few hundred yards of The Dell, our near-record-breaking class of 543 first-year students will learn about world literature, scientific discoveries and talents that they do not yet know they possess. The best college educations are journeys of discovery. Young people learn that they can be leaders and solve difficult problems. And that, by serving others, they and those who are served reap great benefits.
May your travels, outward or inward, teach you much.