Friday, December 17, 2004

Warm wishes from the president 

I guess President Saigo has decided to listen to some of the criticism about holiday decorations. He sends the following greeting to the campus and student government today.
Finals are upon us, and before we all disperse for the winter break, Barbara and I wanted to take a few moments to extend our warm wishes for the season.
Really sir? And what season would that be?
Since becoming a faculty member more than thirty years ago, I have had special feelings for this time of year. I enjoyed teaching and helping students with their final projects, hearing about their progress in other courses, and listening to their plans for the holidays. I could tell by their exhausted smiles that they were relieved to have reached another milestone in their academic life and were excited to return home to family and friends to celebrate their family traditions. I still get that special feeling during the month of December and enjoy the sense of excitement from the students I encounter throughout my day.
"Plans for the holidays." That's pretty close to observance, I'd say. Could it possibly be that he is going to go there?
This time of year is special for many religions and cultures throughout the world. One reason we are fortunate to be part of the SCSU community is that it gives us all a unique opportunity to both experience our own religious or cultural celebrations and appreciate different traditions of those around us. As a university, we sometimes struggle with finding the right balance for celebrating the traditions of the season, but I believe that these observances are too significant to ignore. They are a part of who we are as individuals, as human beings.
I believe Prof. Andzenge said this last week:
An open celebration of all the United States' cultural and religious holidays would not only entertain us, it would more importantly educate all members of the university community.
And so our university president sees the light and does the right thing:
And so it is with warm thoughts of friendship and celebration that Barbara and I wish each of you a peaceful and relaxing holiday season and a joyous new year.
And the same to you, friends. We hope you are not chastised for offending our Buddhist friends.