On March 22, we celebrated our first “Albion Everywhere” event with alumni events in 53 locations that included more than 650 alumni. These events included one at The Philadelphia Center, a fifty-year-old program started by the GLCA, of which Albion College took stewardship this year. As a mark of how enduring our impact can be, alumni of The Philadelphia Center who are not also Albion alums took part in the event and were heartened to hear of Albion College’s plans to invest in the program and its people. I was fortunate to stay here in Albion and be part of the great turnout of local alumni who have kept roots in the city since their graduation.
These events are a nice reminder of why we work so hard both to develop exceptional students who go on to do great things and to invest strategically in the places—all around the world—we call home. When I think about “stewardship” in this light, I think about what it means to take good care of the people who make Albion College—its past, present, and future—what it is. To have 650 people around the world engage in an alumni event is evidence that we’ve taken good care of them and the programs they care about.
Exemplary liberal arts experiences are those that are lived out every day in all capacities, and athletic achievement is no exception to this. Competing in the NCAA Division III means that we do not offer athletic scholarships and do our very best to live up to the ideal of the student-athlete model—one that puts the “student” first. This winter five swimmers and two track and field stars were invited to compete on the national stage at their respective NCAA Division III Championships, an impressive recognition of the balance that our student-athletes display.
Throughout the semester, the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee hosts sports clinics that are open to children ages 4-11 from the community. By teaching kids basic skills and providing them a healthy snack, our student-athletes are learning and exemplifying what it means to take good care of themselves and their community. I’m immensely proud of the way in which the Division III ethos is embodied at Albion College, both on and off the field.
If you have not been to downtown Albion lately, you might not know that the new Courtyard Marriott is now open. When we started this project, we knew that we wanted a place that would invite people to stay in downtown Albion. We wanted a place that would encourage people to see the progress being made here with the Bohm Theatre, the Ludington Center, Stirling Books and Brew, and more.
Of course, as a liberal arts college, we don’t build hotels, and we don’t really teach people to do so either. We teach history and literature. We teach biology and economics. We teach chemistry and mathematics. We teach art and psychology and philosophy. Even without having expertise on our campus to build a hotel, we taught students who became alumni who now have the expertise to build and manage a hotel. Students we teach become investors, hoteliers, doctors, and developers. When we find ourselves without the expertise on campus to achieve things we want, we have a “deep bench” of alumni who can step in and provide what we need.
Taking good care of our students and community today—our stewardship of them—is an investment in the future, and past investments of this sort by our predecessors are paying dividends for us today.