President's Speeches & Writings

The power of community in uncertain times

by

Adam Weinberg

May 1, 2020

At its core, the liberal arts prepares people to be creative problem-solvers who can adapt to change and manage ambiguity. My liberal arts education trained me to have strong views lightly held. I developed a lifelong habit of learning to weave disparate ideas and contradictory data together to create new pathways forward.

Residential liberal arts colleges go one step further. By immersing students in a supportive and challenging campus environment filled with highly motivated peers and faculty and staff who push them, residential liberal arts colleges help students develop resiliency, perseverance, emotional agility, and an optimistic worldview that we can rise to challenges, even when those challenges seem large.

COVID-19 has put those liberal arts skills, values, and habits to the test. There have been good days and challenging days. All of the days have been long. Lots of Zoom meetings and phone calls.

As I am writing this letter, I am fully aware of how much has changed and how much feels uncertain. Despite this, I am also filled with pride, gratitude, and a tremendous sense of belonging.

I have been awestruck at how our faculty and staff have stepped into the COVID space to support students. I am inspired with the way our students adapted and kept moving forward. I am thankful for the support from alumni and parents.

And I am grateful for the bright moments. Watching our coaches find teams who wanted to play one last game before we closed campus. Listening to students perform amazing music on the ArtsatDenison Instagram account. Reading senior capstone projects. I am optimistic about our ability to get through this challenging period and to do it the Denison way.

We debated about this issue of Denison Magazine and decided, after much thought, to proceed and publish. There has been so much disruption. So many ways in which our connections to one another have been interrupted. In the end, we thought feeling in touch with fellow Denisonians might be a welcome respite.

I hope this issue of the magazine brings back fond memories and makes you proud of your connection to Denison. Thank you for letting us share it with you. I remain immensely proud and honored to be a Denisonian, and I cherish being a part of this community—now more than ever.

Read more of Adam Weinberg's speeches and writings.