President White Urges Face-to-Face Campus Discussions

by Howard W. Hewitt

August 31, 2006

President Pat White set the tone for campus discourse Thursday morning with the school year’s first Chapel Talk. The President urged face-to-face conversations that would make students better Wabash men before they graduate.

Hear a podcast of the complete Chapel Talk by going to our Podcast page, click here.

"Great conversation is not just debate or verbal combat," the President said. "If it was only that we’d have people just like us all around us. The conversation we have is the hardest work we do as a College."

The President titled his remarks "Wabash Always Talks: The Grand Conversation of the Liberal Arts."

He mixed his comments with great authors, poets, movie stars, cultural references and humor. He reminded the students, faculty and staff, as he told the incoming freshman class, teachers are all around us. We learn from each other.

"The conversations must be face to face," he emphasized. "We do so for one key reason. Only in close conversation can you do the best learning in the world.

"Action is easy. Conversation is hard. It’s the easiest thing in the world to act without talking or to act without thinking. It’s the music of our community when we do it well together. It’s exhausting work even when it’s the most pleasant of conversations."

Thursday Chapel Talks are hosted by the Sphinx Club. White paid tribute to their efforts and referred to the Chapel Talk tradition. "We are in what is very much a holy place at Wabash," he said. "This is a place sanctified by conversation."

He recalled his only previous Chapel Talk was listening to Tim Lake in February shortly after being named the College’s 15th president. He called Lake’s Feb. 9 talk about the Negro National Anthem one of the best speeches he had ever heard.


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