The following speech was given by alumna Mandy McDow Flemming ’00 at the Faculty Appreciation Reception on April 16 during the 2011 Alumni Reunion Weekend.
It is a joy and an honor to be with you all today at the Faculty Appreciation Reception, and I am so grateful for the invitation to address specifically the value of the faculty here at Oglethorpe. I speak from my experience, not just as a student of yours, but also as the spouse of a faculty member at a different institution.
What began for you as a long-suffering engagement with a subject near and dear to your hearts and led you through the at-times hellish process that is doctoral work, has led you to this place. Whatever your story or passion was before arriving at this institution, it has now been merged with the stories and passions of your colleagues and students. Faculty, you all have done something remarkable. You have said yes—to this job, this opportunity, this particular culture.
You, respected folks, are the soul of Oglethorpe.
We, as students, will come and go. Our time here is (typically) finite. We come, we memorize the names of the core courses, we go. You bring us in, tend to us, teach us what you love, and then bid us farewell, hoping beyond hope that what has mattered to you will matter a bit to us.
Faculty, you are the soul of this place that we all love because you are the lifeline that flows from generation to generation. You will outlast administrators, presidents, deans and students. So, we count on you to teach others with the same care and respect that you have taught us.
I know now, as the wife of a professor, what you have sacrificed to be here. Continue reading