This summer is much like every other one---the time is flying by! I write this sentence with excitement and just a little sadness. The excitement is in thinking about a new year that is just around the corner! The sadness comes with the end of June when the schedule begins to pick up and the so-called ‘lazy days of summer’ are largely over for my time on campus. I hope that you are enjoying your summer thus far and still have some days of enjoyment and relaxation ahead.
There will be a lot of activity between now and when you get back to campus. The Indianapolis Colts return for training camp on July 29, departing on August 17. It will be different not to have Peyton Manning and so many familiar faces here, but I imagine there will be a media frenzy over our new quarterback, Andrew Luck. (Perhaps an appropriate name for what the Colts will need this Fall!)
This has been a summer of change in terms of a number of Student Life staff and their positions. Mr. Dean Branson, Associate Dean of Students, has been promoted to the role of Dean of Students. I am excited for him and believe that he will do a great job giving leadership to Student Life and handling the University judicial process. Feel free to call him Dean Dean or Dean Squared (unless you are in a discipline meeting.) Abby Knowles will also be in a new role, promoted to Assistant Dean of Students and taking over leadership of the First Year Experience program and continuing to work with student leaders. We are also excited to welcome a familiar face back to campus in the role of Assistant Dean for Resident Life. Tamara Shelton, former RD in Morrison Hall, has been hired and begins this summer. Tamara brings great enthusiasm for students, the residence life program and a love for AU to her position. In addition, we will be hiring a new part-time RD to serve Myers Hall, which has been re-positioned as a men’s hall this fall. Don’t have the details yet on this but hope to name someone soon.
I am not sure how this has happened, but we have had a flood of pregnancies and new babies joining the families of Student Life staff. Our administrative assistant for Residence Life and FYE, Liz Flynn, had a baby boy in April. Sarah Westfall, RD in Morrison, and family welcomed a new little one in June. Abby Knowles will be a new mother by the time you return to campus. Mike and Julie Scott, Smith Hall, are expecting in October. And, our newest addition, Tamara Shelton is also pregnant due to give birth in October as well. If you are looking for babysitting opportunities, you now know who to look for in the fall. We are very excited for these friends and for the joy that babies bring to not only these families but to our AU community.
One physical change on campus is the completion of the York Recital Hall and Galleries. This building will be ready for the start of the school year and will provide a wonderful venue for students and other campus guests to perform in a beautiful and acoustically magnificent setting. There are two galleries within this structure as well, one of which is a world class wood art collection. That may not mean a lot to you right now, but there some amazing pieces of art fashioned from wood that will be on display. Also, we are very pleased that the Sallman Collection will now have a permanent home within this building. The Sallman Collection includes the most reproduced image in history, a portrait of Jesus that was copied and given to every American soldier in World War II. Come check out both galleries once school begins!!
As is our annual custom, a group of students, Student Life staff and a faculty member or two have worked and prayed together in order to arrive at our theme for the 2012-13 year. The theme for the year is Beyond Me: Ephesians 3: 20-21 Here is a short preview from your campus pastor, Todd Faulkner.
Each of us is loved by God, created in His image, of immeasurable worth, and able to do so much.
Each of us also struggles to love completely and consistently. On any given day, the image of God within us is--sometimes more, but sometimes less--obvious to those around us. The dignity of our words and actions are not always reflections of our God-given worth. And the good that we want to do, we're not always willing or able to do.
On our own.
But we are not alone.
In the letter to the Ephesians, we read:
"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen" (Ephesians 3:20-21).
"Now to him who is able..."
Ability that is more than what I have on my own.
Ability that is beyond me.
"to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine..."
More than I ask for.
More than you imagine.
Ability that is beyond me, beyond us.
"according to his power that is at work within us..."
Power that is beyond us.
Yet working among us.
Working within us.
"to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus..."
Because God's glory is really what it's all about.
You get to be in on it.
I get to be included.
But it's God who gets the glory.
To God be the glory.
"throughout all generations, for ever and ever, Amen!"
God at work.
More than all we ask or imagine.
How does God do it?
As you are planning for your return to campus, I wanted to make you aware of a couple dates and exciting events. Move In for returning students begins on Friday, August 31. You can come that day or any day after. I do hope that you will come in time for our first home football game, which occurs on Saturday evening, September 1 at 7:00 pm under the lights. Come see your friends and cheer on the Ravens as they play Taylor University in Coach Bobby Ladner’s first game as head coach. Also, I hope you will make plans to come to the Labor Day picnic and volleyball tournament that takes place on Monday, September 3 in the Smith/Martin courtyard. Classes then begin on Tuesday, September 4.
I am anticipating that we are going to have another great year. I hope that you will take seriously your role as an upperclassman and really look out for the freshmen and transfers who will be joining you this year. Freshmen bring a lot of energy but upperclassmen set the pace. I pray that you will set the pace with your eyes fixed on Jesus, the One who began a good work in you and the One who will continue to pursue and refine you until the good work is completed.
If you have questions or there is anything we can do to help your transition back to school please don’t hesitate to contact me, Dean Dean Branson or someone else on the Student Life team. And take a look at the rest of this e-newsletter. There are some helpful reminders on all kinds of topics.
See you soon,
Brent Baker, Ph.D.
Vice President for Student Affairs