15 Oct

Dear Ohio University Students:

The Athens campus is filling up with alumni who have come to pay their respects to their Alma Mater.  Their fondness for this place is humbling.  I’ve been at other institutions and have seen the deep sense of pride that exists among graduates but it is nothing quite like what I’ve seen at Ohio University.  I can go down the checklist that explains why this might be the case : great faculty, interesting classmates, friendly atmosphere, beautiful place.  But there’s something else.

I recently read a short poem by William Allingham that I’ve thought about in association with Homecoming: “Everything passes and vanishes;/ Everything leaves its trace;/ And often you see in a footstep/What you could not see in a face.”  In 206 years there have been a lot of footsteps on this campus.  Maybe they exert a force that can be detected by poets  but not yet by conventional scientific means.  At any rate, your footsteps are now part of this place–contributing to its energy and vitality.

I hope that you enjoy the Homecoming festivities.  There’s certainly much to celebrate on these beautiful autumn days.

Pam Benoit


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