For goodness sake

My son’s smile. My husband’s embrace. Summer sandals. Coffee. Art.

These are a few of my favorite things—the ones that help define what I consider to be a good life. (Pasta is a given, so no need to mention that.)

I’ve been thinking about all the little things as our team has been creating this issue of the magazine. Our cover story focuses on two First-Year Seminars (FYS) that look at opposite sides of life: “What is the Good Life?,” taught last fall by Associate Professor of Philosophy John Partridge, and “On Becoming Evil,” taught by Professor of Psychology Gail Sahar.

When I saw these two on the FYS list for fall I knew I had to feature them together.

The 24/7 news cycle and social media deliver nonstop examples of evil happening everywhere. I don’t know about you, but every time I see a story about a shooting or something equally horrendous, I ask myself the same question: How can people be so horrible? In that moment, I’m also deeply grateful for all that is good in life. Those things become much more precious when we see how easily they can be ripped from our grasp.

In fact, I think we know how good things are because we know how bad they can be. So, what a valuable opportunity for our incoming students to really think about both and explore the complexity of our nature as humans. We are preparing them to be leaders who can help shape the world; a clear vision of the light as well as the dark is critical for staying alert and seeking the life desired.

Also in this issue, we have profiles of two extraordinary alums—recently retired Boston police Sergeant Detective Kim Gaddy ’81 and South African social justice advocate Naleli Morojele ’09—who have been devoted to bringing forth the good, amid the bad.