Denison is a college where the experience is shaped by world-class academics and co-curricular involvements. It is a place where you can compete at a national level in athletics and study abroad, pursue an artistic passion and still major in any academic discipline, and have friends who share your world views and friends who have different world views.
At Denison, students can explore existing interests and develop new interests that will become lifelong passions. We are a college where you can receive a life-shaping liberal arts education and be prepared to launch quickly into a career.
In other words, we are a college powered by the word “and.” We are a place that does not force students to make false choices. We give students an education that develops “the whole person.” Our students have a fantastic four-year experience that unlocks their potential to be the architects of their lives.
What does this look like in 2022? This edition of the magazine celebrates the power of “and” in several ways. I want to mention two.
First, there is a fun article on our Presidential Medal winners. This is an award we first gave out in 1985. Each year, we recognize a select group of seniors who have achieved at the highest level academically and contributed to the Denison community through involvement in athletics, the arts, community service, or campus discourses.
The awardees represent the unique combination of interests our students explore during their time on The Hill. And they are not alone. When I talk with students, I am always struck by the innovative mix of courses or majors they are pursuing. I am also inspired by their range of co-curricular interests.
In late spring, I asked one of our music majors how they wound up at Denison. The student explained that they had almost committed to a conservatory, but then they visited Denison. This student talked about walking into the new Eisner Center for the Performing Arts, meeting our music faculty, and feeling the wonderful sense of community and friendship that permeates our campus. They realized they could come to Denison and have it all. In addition to pursuing their passion for music, this student is also a varsity athlete, a global commerce major, and a tour guide.
Every college has high-achieving students. What makes Denison unique is that our students truly embrace the “and” principle. This has always been true about Denison, and it remains so today.
Second, we profile four centers that help students blend a life-shaping liberal arts education with preparation for careers. Our work on career preparation starts with a deep grounding in the liberal arts.
Students’ minds are expanded as they take classes across academic disciplines that expose them to a wide range of ideas and ways of seeing the world. They are mentored by world-class faculty who help them reflect on big questions about the lives they want to live. They are pushed in the right ways by their peers. They grow as they live together in residential halls, study abroad, play sports, participate in the arts, and join student organizations.
And at Denison, we build on the liberal arts foundation by giving students specific skills and experiences they need to pursue professional interests. Over the last six years, we have developed a series of centers to help students explore careers; prepare to compete for intern- ships, jobs, and graduate programs; and launch quickly and successfully into lives and careers.
The article in this issue explores these centers, including the Austin E. Knowlton Center for Career Exploration, Denison Edge (which is an extension of the Knowlton Center), The Lisska Center for Scholarly Engagement, and Red Frame Lab.
One of my favorite programs is called The Journey Program. It is a multi-day program that helps students reflect on their talents and interests and starts the process of identifying career options. Students finish with a career journey roadmap. The program is designed for sophomores to help them get started and broadly focused.
What I admire about this program is how it blends the liberal arts with career exploration. It encourages students to take a wide range of classes, major in anything they want, and pursue co-curricular interests, and then use the four centers to fill in the gaps. It is the “and” principle at work.
I hope you enjoy this edition of the magazine. As I complete my ninth year at Denison, I feel honored to be a Denisonian. This is a great college, and I am grateful to be able to serve it.