Eye of the Beholder Creativity, shifting perspectives, and active leadership prepare Davidson for the next 175 years.


John Syme and Dodger

Creativity, shifting perspectives, and active leadership prepare Davidson for the next 175 years.

A s time itself continues to find new ways to fold up, over, and all around us in this digital age, I find myself drawn more and more to plain old printed matter for certain types of reading. The simple and real armchair kind of reading with “hyper” nothing beyond my own memory and imagination— no more, no less.

For instance, like Davidson itself, the Davidson Journal seems a singular place in time and space to visit, be it for four years on campus or for forty minutes in the armchair. The very names of the parts of the magazine conjure the campus and campus life: The Well. The Union. Office Hours. Sports. Profiles. Culture. And, of course, the very ideas and images in the magazine spring from the fertile life of the mind, and heart, of the place itself.

As singular as the campus and the magazine may seem to all within “the world of Davidson,” it is also true that a happy corollary emerges from a shift in perspective to “Davidson in the world.” Particularly when seen through the myriad prisms of the Internet and social media, Davidson unfolds into a multiplicity of places in time, from 1837 archives to tomorrow’s blogs. Each prismatic facet reveals, in turn, a Davidson as straightforward and imaginative as its beholder wants it to be—no more, no less—from English literature to computational biology, from classical philosophy to modern medical ethics. (For a fun peek at current syllabi, be sure to see Bill Giduz’s feature story on page 32.)

In more than a decade working here, I’ve seen my alma mater’s self-image lead the way toward its own future and occasionally lag behind its shining present. It’s like a person that way, only more so.

The very real sense I have of the place at this particular moment in our 175-year history is that Davidson College is poised for its next great chapter of active leadership in, and thoughtful response to, the world in which it lives and breathes.

Simple and real; straightforward and imaginative; no more, no less.

— John Syme


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