Wheaton at its very best
Posted on December 3, 2010
Last Sunday in Mary Lyon Hall people from across the country gathered to celebrate the life of Provost Emerita Hannah Goldberg, who passed away in September. The crowd included members of Hannah’s family, former neighbors in Yellow Springs, Ohio and Providence, two Presidents Emerita of Wheaton, numbers of current and former faculty and staff as well former colleagues from the world of higher education.
The program consisted primarily of reflections from President Emerita Tish Emerson, Hannah’s Rabbi in Providence, Professor John Grady, who served on the search committee that recommended Hannah, and the headmaster of the Providence Community School on whose board she served. Following these reflections and beautiful performances by the Gentlemen’s Callers and Matthew Allen and Julie Searles, Dean Sue Alexander shared her own reflections and called on those present to contribute their thoughts as well. Individually and together, these reflections—enhanced by photos of Hannah which were displayed on the screen--recalled the brilliant, witty, and determined woman who left a lasting legacy here at Wheaton.
I was particularly moved by the sense of connection and community in that room. Hannah helped create that atmosphere through her personal warmth, her interest in learning about others and the world and her dedication to this college. Her friends and colleagues reflected the power of her life-affirming approach to the world.
I also was touched by the dedication to this community that was evident only through a careful examination of the Holman Room itself. The room had been transformed by the Wheaton staff to look like an elegant auditorium space. The tablet-top desks had been removed and replaced by straight-back—and very comfortable chairs. The arrangement of the room enhanced the entire program, and this would not have been possible were it not for the buildings and grounds crew, housekeeping staff , and staff in the Office of the President.
Often times when attending an event, we take it for granted that the venue will be arranged in an appropriate fashion. People rarely think about the amount of effort required to make that happen.
As I sat there, I was exceedingly proud to be a member of the Wheaton College community. Not only as the result of the impressive outpouring of love, affection, and respect for our departed colleague, but also with gratitude for our amazingly committed and dedicated staff. My sincere thanks to all who helped to make this event an exemplary display of Wheaton at its very best.