I received an invitation a few weeks ago from the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences to attend the annual Arts and Sciences Awards Ceremony held last night. Since joining Fairfield University on January 7, I’ve been consistently working 10-12 hour days as I immerse myself in this campus. By the end of each work day, I am exhausted. Mentally and physically drained. I love what I’m doing. I see the true value and I understand deep-down how technology impacts an institution. I enjoy communication and collaboration and representing the pretty darn stellar technology team under my stead. However by 6pm I am beat. Plus I have two young children at home that oftentimes I miss seeing before their bedtime. The days run together.
So back to last night.
The event started at 6 with faculty/student/parent mingling and some light refreshments followed by the awards ceremony at 6:30. I was about 15-20 minutes late (per usual, stuck on a business call). I won’t lie. As I drove over to the Barone Campus Center I was thinking, “One cup of coffee, a few hellos and I’m heading home.” Upon arrival I noticed assigned seating. My name was on a placard. I was there for the long haul and, despite being tired (and possibly cranky), I immediately went ‘all in’. I was staying for the duration. Can I just say how glad I am that I was able to experience the ceremony last night.
Working for a Jesuit institution, it just felt good to start the ceremony with a blessing. The presentations by department heads to our students were emotional, awe-inspiring, impressive. At one point a presenter stated simply’ “Intelligence without humanity is an empty prize.” The bar for performance astounds me and the kids jump over that bar continuously. The institutional learning goals enhance the programs aiming to produce students: (1) with a Commitment to Academic Excellence, (2) who are Integrative Thinkers, and (3) who live and breathe Civic/Social Responsibility. You see it every day in the students, but sometimes when you’re caught in discussions of reporting dissatisfaction, who is going to pay for this set of computers, why am I only getting 3 instead of 4 bars of wireless, mobile schmobile – you forget. You forget the reason for the season, i.e. the academic year. You forget why we work 150% for oftentimes 80% salary (or less). You forget why we’re here.
What started with a blessing ended with me counting my blessings. Thank you Dr. Crabtree for the invitation to attend the awards ceremony last night. Thank you Fairfield University Students and Faculty (and students and faculty everywhere) for continuing to keep me energized, focused and absolutely on my toes. What a continuous inspiration. I am thankful.