What is Phishing?

Phishing occurs when someone attempts to use electronic communication such as email to fraudulently acquire confidential information such as your password by pretending to be a trusted person or part of a trusted group.

How does phishing work?

Phishing is a form of social engineering, the art of manipulating people into sharing confidential information or performing a desired action. Phishing attacks are commonly transmitted via email and social network sites like Facebook and Twitter.

How will they encourage me to share my information?

Phishers typically present a plausible scenario and often take advantage of the recipient’s fear, greed or lust. They also often present a sense of urgency. Examples include messages that:

  • Tell you that your account was misused by you and will be disabled
  • Tell you that your account was compromised and will be disabled
  • Tell you that your Mailbox has reached its limit and will be disabled

What might the phisher ask for?

  • Your password
  • Account number, card number, PIN, access code
  • Personally identifiable information like your date of birth, Social Security number or address
  • Confidential information like student records, financial records or technical information

Signs of a potential phishing attack

If the communication you receive exhibits any of the following, it may be a phishing attack.

  • You are asked for confidential information
  • You are asked to visit a web page with a suspicious or unexpected address
  • You do not recognize the sender or the sender does not normally contact you
  • You recognize the sender, but the sender’s email address, alias or name spelling are unusual
  • You’re told something negative will occur if you don’t supply the requested information
  • The writing style is unusual

How to protect yourself

  • Ask yourself whether you should be sharing the information requested
  • If the supposed sender is someone or an organization known to you, contact them to discuss the request
  • Use a browser that alerts you when you attempt to visit known phishing websites
  • Before you click a link, inspect it
  • If unsure of a link’s authenticity, use a link you know or find the link via a search engine

Motor Pool - Passenger Vans

12 and 15 Passenger Vans

E-form Reservations

An E-form (four part form available through central stores) is necessary to schedule a 12 or 15 passenger van. The following information must appear on the E-form: account number for charges, group/class name, contact person and their extension, number of vans needed, purpose of trip, destination, date(s) and time van is needed, name(s) of approved driver(s), and signature(s) of approval.

Residential Life must approve requests for Residential Life functions. CPO must approve requests for student groups/organizations. Requests for First Year Experience must be approved by Drew Dunham, Registrar's Office. Albion College motor pool 12 and 15 passenger vans are to be used only for College-related business, the Business Office must approve any exception before vehicles can be scheduled. Per the PET AND OTHER ANIMAL policy for Albion College, animals (with the exception of service animals) are not to be transported in motor pool vehicles.

Approved Drivers

It is the responsibility of the department/group/organization to find approved drivers. Albion College staff and student driver names must appear on the "Approved Driver List" to drive a motor pool 12 or 15 passenger van. The process for applying to become an approved driver is now electronic, and is described below:

  • Persons wishing to apply to become approved drivers should go to the College Vehicle Driver Registration form, and provide the requested information.
  • Once completed, this information is e-mailed to Campus Safety and Alert Driving. Campus Safety will begin the process of obtaining your driving record, in accordance with College policy.
  • You will receive an email from Alert Driving with URL and password to log on to take your test. You must complete the online training within 14 days of receiving this email.
  • Upon your successful completion of the online training, print your completion certificate and contact the Campus Safety office to schedule your driving test. Driving tests are conducted on Thursdays. To schedule a test, call x0213 and ask for Carl Field, or e-mail . (Tests may be administered on days other than Thursday under special circumstances.)
  • Campus Safety will notify you confirming your authorization to drive a College van. NOTE: Obtaining driving records can take four to six weeks.


The charge for using a 12 or 15 passenger van is currently $.40/mile. The per mile charge includes gas. If you are travelling a distance you will be provided with gas cards to use. Please place gas slips in the envelope with the checklist and keys.

Changes And Cancellations

Please notify us of any changes in dates or numbers of vehicles needed so we can check on availability. Please notify us of any cancellations ASAP. If the cancellation policy is abused you may be charged $25/vehicle reserved.

Key Pick Up

Keys can be signed out by the approved driver Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. in the Facilities Building. Keys for weekend travel need to be signed out on Friday; HOWEVER, you must not take the vehicle until the date and time scheduled.

Overnight Trips

Groups traveling overnight must provide Campus Safety with the following information PRIOR to departure:

  • names and emergency contact information for each person traveling
  • detailed itinerary (including accommodations and cell phone numbers)
  • signed release form for each person traveling in the van

These forms can be obtained in the CPO office or online on the Student Organization Resources website.

If you are traveling with luggage, no more than 12 people can be transported in a van.

12 And 15 Passenger Van Pick Up And Drop Off

Monday through Friday all vehicles are ready by 9 a.m. on the day they are reserved for. If you need the vehicle(s) before 9 a.m., let us know so arrangements can be made to have it ready.

When you sign out the keys you will be given an envelope with the key(s) and checklist(s). Please remember to check the gas gauge prior to leaving town.

When you return the vehicle(s), completely fill out the check list(s). It serves as a reminder to clean out loose trash and personal items and to secure the vehicle(s). A garbage can is located next to the gas pump for trash, if excessive trash or other items are left in the vehicle you may be charged $25 cleaning fee. We are not responsible for any items left in the vehicle. On the checklist there is a section to report any damage to the vehicle while in your possession (even vandalism). List any mechanical concerns in the comment section. The envelope containing the completed checklist, keys and gas cards (if applicable) should be placed in the drop box next to the Central Receiving door on the west end of the building. DO NOT leave van keys in the van.

**If you were in an accident completely fill out an accident report (in the glove box with the insurance and registration information and emergency contact information). Attach a copy of the police report (or the officer's card with the department's phone number), and turn it in with the keys. We will contact the insurance company to file a claim if necessary.

Emergency Numbers And Accident Procedures

This information is also in the glove box with the insurance information. If you have a motor pool emergency Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m., call: 517/629-0260 Laura McDowell, if you get voice mail, hang up and call 517/629-0230 Facilities Office.

After 5 p.m. and on the weekends, call Campus Safety at 517/629-1234 and let them know you have a motor pool emergency. They will contact the Facilities Supervisor on call. Make sure to leave your location, nature of the problem, and contact number with the Campus Safety dispatcher.

If you spend cash, or charge minor repairs to a personal card, make sure to save all receipts so we can reimburse expenses.

In the event that a College van is involved in an accident, the driver is responsible for ensuring that the steps listed below are taken:

  1. Contact the appropriate law enforcement agency, so that a police report may be completed.
  2. Contact Campus Safety at 517/629-5610 and advise the dispatcher of the accident.
    1. Notify Campus Safety of injured passengers and the hospital to which they are being transported.
    2. In the event that the vehicle is not driveable, Campus Safety will contact Facilities Operations to coordinate the disposition of the vehicle, the arrangement of alternate transportation and other necessary assistance for those on the trip as needed.
  3. Upon return to campus, notify Campus Services and Business Office of the accident, to include date, location, and police report number for the incident.

Payroll Dates

Pay Periods

Pay PeriodStudents Verification
to Supervisor
Supervisors Approved
Time Sheets to Payroll
Pay Date
May 8 – May 21 May 23 May 24 June 1, 2017
May 22 - Jun 4 June 6 June 7 June 15, 2017
Jun 5 - Jun 18 Jun 20 Jun 21 June 29, 2017
Jun 19 - July 2 July 4 July 5 July 13, 2017
July 3 - July 16 July 18 July 19 July 27, 2017
July 17 - July 30 Aug 1 Aug 2 Aug 10, 2017
July 31 - Aug 13 Aug 15 Aug 16 Aug 24, 2017
Aug 14 - Aug 27 Aug 29 Aug 30 Sept 7, 2017
Aug 28 - Sept 10 Sept 12 Sept 13 Sep 21, 2017
Sept 11 -Sept 24 Sept 26 Sept 27 Oct 5, 2017
Sept 25 - Oct 8 Oct 10 Oct 11 Oct 19, 2017
Oct 9 - Oct 22 Oct 24 Oct 25 Nov 2, 2017
Oct 23 - Nov 5 Nov 7 Nov 8 Nov 16, 2017
Nov 6 - Nov 19 Nov 21 Nov 22 Nov 30, 2017
Nov 20 - Dec 3 Dec 5 Dec 6 Dec 14, 2017**
Dec 4 - Dec 17 Dec 19 Dec 20 Dec 28, 2017**
Dec 18 - Dec 31 Jan 1 Jan 2 Jan 11, 2018
Jan 1 - Jan 14 Jan 16 Jan 17 Jan 25, 2018
Jan 15 - Jan 28 Jan 30 Jan 31 Feb 8, 2018
Jan 29 - Feb 11 Feb 13 Feb 14 Feb 22, 2018
Feb 12 - Feb 25 Feb 27 Feb 28 Mar 8, 2018
Feb 26 - Mar 11 Mar 13 Mar 14 Mar 22, 2018
Mar 12 - Mar 25 Mar 27 Mar 28 Apr 5, 2018
Mar 26 - Apr 8 Apr 10 Apr 11 Apr 19, 2018
Apr 9 - Apr 22 Apr 24 Apr 25 May 3, 2018
Apr 23 - May 6 May 8 May 9 May 17, 2018**

Students: It is your responsibility to "submit your time for approval" by the specified date each pay period. Not verifying your time entry will delay the processing of your pay check until the next scheduled pay date.

Supervisors: You must approve all time sheets by the stated date to ensure that your student employees are paid on the scheduled pay date.

Check Delivery: During the Academic year, student pay checks are delivered to the Kellogg Post Office and must be signed for. A form of ID is required to pick up your check.

Direct Deposit: Students are expected to participate in the direct deposit option for receiving their pay. A significant benefit of this program is the flexibility of not having to be on campus on pay day, particularly helpful for pay days that fall at the end of semesters and/or during breaks.

**For the dates indicated above. Your pay check will be mailed to your permanent Mailing Address on record with the College. If a student wants his or her pay check mailed to an address other than the mailing address on record the student must submit a self-addressed envelope and present his or her student ID at the time of delivery of the self-addressed envelope to Human Resources, located within Campus Safety.

If you have any questions, please call Angie Konkle in the Student Payroll/Human Resources Office (x-0203).

Washington Gardner Fitness Center

Washington Gardner Fitness Center

The student-only fitness center, located in the Washington Gardner school gymnasium on Michigan Avenue, was developed with general student fitness in mind. The Center measures 4,500 square feet and includes spin and recumbent bikes, elliptical trainers, and treadmills for cardiovascular activities as well as plate-loaded machines and equipment for weightlifting.

Fitness Center entrance is located on N. Berrien St.


***The Fitness Center will be closed Wednesday - Sunday for Thanksgiving Break.***



 401 E Michigan Ave
 Albion, MI 49224







Note: In order to work, you must be deemed eligible to work on campus by Student Employment. If you have held any other campus job you are all set. If you have never worked on campus before, you should complete the student employment registration process now. For more information on how to register for student employment please visit the Student Employment web site at:


Albion College understands student employees are students first and employees second. Students are expected to meet their commitments to the employment arrangement, arriving on time, completing work during scheduled hours and otherwise acting with dignity and respect for supervisors, staff, other students and other members of the College Community.

Albion College does not tolerate discrimination or sexual harassment in the workplace. Complaints should be referred immediately to the attention of the employee’s supervisor, manager, department chairperson or directly to the Office of Human Resources, 629-0205.

Summer student positions are limited to 40 hour per work week for all campus jobs. The work week runs from Sunday through Saturday regardless of when a pay period begins or ends.

Harrington Neighborhood

Harrington Neighborhood

We live where we work, and invest in our community.

Thanks to a generous gift by Mike, ’85, and Judy, ’86, Harrington, faculty and staff have the opportunity to help revitalize the neighborhood connecting campus and downtown Albion. Through their gift, Mike and Judy have made it possible for Albion College to provide forgivable loans that will incentivize faculty and staff to live near campus. This will, in turn, support and enhance the true liberal arts experience.

“I think there’s a compelling need to continue to bring the College and community together to advance the interests of both the College and the city… We’ve started to do it in the last couple of years. I think it’s a powerful idea. It says that Albion is America—it resonates.” – Mike Harrington, ’85

Read more about the gift announcement here.

Sexual Misconduct Involving Minors Reporting Procedure

All Regular Employees

Employees who witness or suspect sexual misconduct involving a minor are required to report such incidents as indicated below. Sexual misconduct includes the following:

  • Any sexual acts involving a minor.
  • The intentional exposing of genitals to a minor or forcing a minor to expose his/her genitals for the purpose of sexual gratification.
  • Any intentional touching of a minor’s genital area, buttocks, breasts, or groin for the purpose of sexual gratification.
  • Forcing a minor to touch the genital area, buttocks, breasts, or groin of another for the purpose of sexual gratification.
  • Soliciting or requesting a minor to engage in sexual activity.
  • Intentionally exposing a minor to pornographic materials.


  1. Employees who witness an incident of sexual misconduct involving a minor must immediately report the incident to either the Albion Department of Public Safety (911 from cell phone or off-campus phone) or the Office of Campus Safety (ext. 0911 or 517-629-1234).
    1. Employees must also report the incident as soon as possible to the Campus Conduct Hotline© by calling 866-943-5787, or by emailing .
    2. Employees must report the incident as soon as possible to their Department Head or to the Department Head’s supervisor as needed.
    3. Employees must report the incident as soon as possible to their Department Head or to the Department Head’s supervisor as needed.
  2. Employees who suspect sexual misconduct involving a minor is occurring or has occurred must report their suspicions to the Campus Conduct Hotline© by calling 866-943-5787, or by emailing .
    1. Employees may also report suspicions of sexual misconduct to the following agencies:
      • Children’s Protective Services-call 855-444-3911—reports may be made confidentially or anonymously.
      • Albion Department of Public Safety-call 911 from a cell phone or non-campus phone.
      • Office of Campus Safety-ext. 0911 or 517-629-1234.
    2. Employees should report any suspicions of sexual misconduct as soon as possible to their Department Head or to the Department Head’s supervisor as needed.
    3. The Department Head must report the incident to the Division Head or to the President as needed.
  3. Nothing in this procedure should be interpreted as discouraging or preventing employees from acting to stop an incident of sexual misconduct that is occurring, provided that such action does not endanger either his/her safety or the safety of the minor who is being subjected to the misconduct.

President’s Administrative Council reviewed/effective January 2013

Snapchat Request Form

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Presidential Search Prospectus

Please click on the image below to read and download Albion College's presidential search prospectus document. The document is in PDF format.

presidential search prospectus cover

New to Albion

Academic Specific Software

Albion has license agreements with numerous different software providers. These agreements vary in their size and scope. If you would like to request academic software or inquire on what we are currently licensed for, please contact .

Accessing your Voicemail

The user reference guide for using your phone and setting up your voicemail can be found here.

Accessing the Wireless Network

Albion Albion offers wireless networking throughout academic spaces and in common areas of residence halls. Please see the link below for more information (


ACIS is an acronym for Albion College Information System. Faculty use this site to post grades while students use it for course registration and checking grades. Students can view financial aid and account information using ACIS.

Albion 1Card

The Albion 1Card is the official identification card of Albion College. Issued to all members of the College Community, it is required for identification and access to essential campus services. It also offers a convenient declining balance debit account - Briton Bucks - for making purchases on and around campus.

Albion Email

Albion College has partnered with Google Apps for Education to bring you this commonly used and robust email platform. Email support can be found on the IT site at

Administrative software for Student, Financial Aid, Finance, Human Resources and Development data.

New faculty members receive their Banner and ACIS login credentials from the Registrar at their orientation meeting. Staff receive them by request from their supervisor. 

Banner Reports

Banner reports require both network authentication and a Banner login. Information including budget information can be acquired from these reports.


Cable TV Channels

The reference table for the cable TV channels provided by WOW TV can be found here.  TV Channel Guide


Campus Blogs

All members of the college community are invited to share what they are thinking about. Anyone with an email address can get started in minutes. Sign up at

Classroom Technology

  • Enhanced Classrooms: (computer lectern, projector, VCR, DVD, visualizer). To reserve one of these spaces, contact the Kellogg Center campus scheduler at x:0306.
  • Portable Media Carts: (computer, projector, VCR, DVD, visualizer)
  • Public Computer Labs: (with multiple computer workstations) Located in Olin, Ferguson, and Putnam. To reserve a lab for periodic instruction, please complete the lab reservation form linked here
  • Ferguson Media Room: (color phaser printers, slide/film scanner, poster printer, and more…) For one-on-one Instructional Technology project assistance and reservations, please email .


Course Management System

Moodle is the course management system at Albion. To place your syllabus, assignments, or discussion board on the web, complete our online course web request form at

No web editing experience needed; it’s that simple!

Door Access

To request door access for students or employees, please email . Please keep in mind that these requests sometimes take up to a week to complete. Only Vice-Presidents or Department Heads may authorize staff members to have access to areas with key card locks. The policy for authorizations can be seen at:

File Storage Space

Albion College provides file storage space to all faculty, staff, and students that is backed up nightly. Network drive space falls into two categories: Enterprise class storage which is backed up nightly and Commodity class storage which is not backed up. Please see this link for more information

Microsoft Office

Office 2010 for Windows and Office 2011 for Mac are available for all faculty and staff office machines. Office 365 is available for faculty, staff and students at no additional cost through our Microsoft Campus Agreement. Faculty and staff can download the current version of Microsoft Office under our work-at-home licensing agreement. It is available for download on our website at Microsoft Software  

People Directory

The people directory is the easiest way to find contact information for people within the campus community.


Technology Equipment Rental

Information Technology is happy to offer a wide range of equipment to campus users on a short term basis at no cost.  To view what is available to you and complete an online request form, click this link. (

Technology Training

Instructional Technology offers various types of training from one-on-one, to workshops, as well as online guides and tutorials. To schedule a one-on-one training, please complete the form linked here ( For more information on trainings, workshops or online tutorials, please check the daily announcements or contact

Web Assistance

For assistance with your departmental or personal web pages, please email .
For assistance with course related web pages, please email .


 Dow Center Thanksgiving Break Hours

Monday:             6:30am – 12:00am

Tuesday:             6:30am – 9:00pm

Wednesday:       12:00pm – 6:00pm

Thursday:            CLOSED

Friday:                 12:00pm – 4:00pm

Saturday:            12:00pm – 4:00pm

Sunday:               6:00pm – 12:00am

The pool is closed Wednesday - Saturday. Sunday open swim is from 7:00 - 9:00pm.


 Hours are subject to change based on College holidays, breaks, or athletic and special events. 

Dow Recreation and Wellness Center

Monday - Thursday 6:30 a.m. - 12:00 a.m.
Friday 6:30 a.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Saturday 12:00 p.m - 6:00 p.m.
Sunday 12:00 p.m. - 12:00 a.m.

Ungrodt Tennis Center

Monday - Thursday 6:30 a.m. - 10:00 p.m.
Friday 6:30 a.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Saturday 12:00 - 6:00 p.m.
Sunday 12:00 - 10:00 p.m.

Dean Aquatic Center

Monday - Friday (Afternoon) 12:00 - 1:00 p.m.
Monday - Friday (Evenings) 7:00 - 9:00 p.m.
Saturday Closed
Sunday 7:00 - 9:00 p.m.


The boathouse will be open if the temperature is above 60 degrees but can be closed due to the weather. It will close for the season on October 15. 

Day Hours
Friday 3:00 - 6:00pm
Saturday 12:00 - 4:00pm
Sunday 12:00 - 4:00pm


VMware (virtual network)

VMware is a virtualization technology which allows you to connect to your Albion office/lab machine when you are home or traveling so you may access the Albion network as you would on campus.

Instructions to connect to VMware via a web browser (Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome):

  • Enter into your browser of choice
  • Read and accept disclaimer.Click Accept.
  • Enter your Albion network Username and Password. Please be certain the "Domain" field is left as "Albion"
  • Select the "Staff" or "Student Lab" button
  • If prompted, select "I understand the Risks" "Add Exception" and "Confirm Security Exception"
  • You will soon see a campus desktop with the Albion background through which you can access campus resources. 
  • When finished, select "Log Off" from the Start menu.

WARNING: Save all documents and files onto your network drives (G, H, W, P) as files saved onto the virtual machine desktop will be lost. 

If you have any questions or problems, please contact the helpdesk at 517-629-0479 or email .

Joanne (Joey) Miller, '75

Joey Miller, '75, Albion College Board of TrusteesProfessional Association: Vice President of Information Technology for Magna International.

Education: B.A. in Anthropology, Albion College, 1975. Masters in Sociology, Oberlin College.

Miller has global responsibility for Magna IT and is also chair of the Magna IT Council, which is the governance board for all IT activity within Magna International. Miller has more than 25 years of experience working in the information technology field. Prior to her current position, Miller was Director of IT for Magna Donnelly. She also served as Manager of Global Infrastructure and Manager of Global Support for Donnelly Corporation. Her area of expertise focused on building effective virtual teams to support the global enterprise. Miller has also served as Project Manager and Divisional Manager at Clark Equipment, where she designed and implemented systems for Clark's international manufacturing facilities and dealer network. Miller's other experiences include technology and business consultant to Western Michigan University and independent consulting for Fortune 500 corporations and a number of organizations.

Miller is a member of several CIO networks, IT, and Management organizations and is actively involved with community organizations such as United Way, Voluntary Action Center, and Guidance Clinic.

Office of the President

Welcome to Albion!

Dr. Mauri A. Ditzler officially became the 16th president of Albion College on July 1, 2014.Albion College was founded on the frontier of Michigan Territory more than 180 years ago with a single primary purpose: to enhance, enrich and empower its community, benefiting those who made the bold decision to head west and find the best place to build better lives for themselves and their families.

Well into the 21st century, that purpose is just as relevant. We still imagine ourselves as a frontier college. The frontiers are different—driven by intellectual, societal and technological forces—and our mission is much broader, but our founders' extraordinary efforts serve as a valuable guide. They confronted their challenges, and our community today is doing the same—like many communities across America facing similar challenges.

That means bold decisions must continue to be made, and Albion students, graduates, faculty and staff together are doing just that. They are thoughtfully addressing the issues and making the decisions that not only are building our local and regional communities, but enriching society nationally and internationally.

In short, Albion College is an exciting place. Our students are learning 24/7—in the classroom and lab, in the professor’s office and on the playing field, and in the dining hall and dorm room. The uniquely American creation that is the residential liberal arts college is seen here every day through the close interactions between students and faculty, and it is reinforced by the discussion, debate and critical thinking that is required not only to determine the many local, regional and global challenges we face, but to tackle them—and solve them.

Indeed, the bigger the challenge, the greater the need for the liberal arts approach. The collective impact of Albion’s 23,000 alumni, who have found their vocation across all walks of life, stands as proof of the timeless techniques that have served them and our society well.

Another thing about our graduates: They are unusually fond of their alma mater. Continue to explore Albion College—both online and on campus—and you will begin to see why. Here’s a hint: It starts with community.

Signature of Mauri A. Ditzler, president, Albion College

Mauri A. Ditzler

Inaugural Address: 'Unless a College'

Inaugural Address: ‘Unless a College’

President Mauri A. DitzlerPresident Mauri A. Ditzler

What a remarkable view from here, atop the steps of Kresge Gymnasium. Behind me is one of the oldest competition gyms in the NCAA. In front of me is one of this country's finest colleges. And in between are so many dear friends. Some of us go back four or five decades, others only a few weeks. Thank you for joining me on this day that we celebrate the storied past and bright future of Albion College and its host community.

Joining a new college is an exhilarating experience. Once again, I have been energized by discovering a community of remarkably dedicated individuals who have devoted their lives to changing the world by instilling idealism and by sharing the liberal arts.

Somewhere in this great land, there may be another community with more pent-up enthusiasm and a greater can-do attitude. But, if so, they will need a president on steroids. You folks are fired up, and I am having the time of my life trying to keep up!

The New President's Playbook calls for months of meetings and a year of planning. The meetings have been inspiring, and your message is clear: less talk and more action. I have heard you say, "Plan if you must, but we have important work to do. Let's get things done."

A fragment of poetry kept coming to mind as you described your commitment to this college. That fragment, three lines near the end of one of Robert Frost's lesser known works, was the obvious text for my inaugural address. And, the final phrase of the fragment—unless a college—was destined to be my title.

I was pleased to be able to present the title to our associate vice president for communications. I was over a month ahead of my deadline (which was today) and only four months past hers. The response wasn't what I expected. Sorry, she said, but you will need to find another—that title is already taken.

As it turns out, Sarah Briggs has a good memory; "Unless a College" was the title and theme of President Vulgamore's inauguration speech in 1983.

What Sarah, who was apparently never an analytical chemist, saw as repetition, I saw as a reproducible experiment. In fact, I am delighted that two presidents, from very different backgrounds, serving three decades apart, came to the same conclusion about the Albion community.

I'm going to ask student Mariah Phelps to assist me by reading this bit of Frost's poetry.


In 1932, Robert Frost wrote a poem entitled "Build Soil." He used it as a vehicle for attacking social policy, for praising farmers who enrich their soil by plowing under a cover crop, for criticizing writers who don't plow under enough drafts before publishing, and then, finally, to provide the inspiration for two separate inaugural speeches at Albion College.

Don't join too many gangs. Join few if any,
Join the United States and join the family—
But not much in between unless a college.

Frost didn't say join the United States, a family, and a college. With the qualifier "unless" he seems to imply that from time to time there might come along a college that deserves allegiance as much as does a family or a country. Frost spent some time at Dartmouth and Harvard but didn't stay long enough at either to graduate; apparently his standards for a college to be joined were pretty high.

It was this concept of joining a college that came to mind in my initial meetings with faculty and staff who have spent an entire career at Albion. They didn't describe a place they worked; it was clear that for them Albion College was far more than a job; it was a life-defining experience; it was a place where they fulfilled their calling. It was something they had joined and, even in retirement, couldn't leave any more than they could leave their family or their country.

Every one of us has had someone tell us that we are special. Most of us are lucky enough to have heard those loving words several times. Perhaps it was a grandmother or a Little League coach or a 4-H leader or a Sunday school teacher or a seventh-grade math teacher or a college adviser. If that person was wise, he or she also reminded us that with our special gifts came special responsibility.

Collectively, this encouragement and admonition makes up our calling. When we are able to make sense of it all, we have discerned a vocation. Albion College has always been a great place for students to discern a vocation. And, for those whose vocation includes inspiring a next generation to change the world for the better, Albion is a great place to spend four years discerning a vocation, and it can also be a great place to spend a lifetime pursuing that vocation.

An institution that allows one to find productive work and to carry it out in a manner that is consistent with a call to idealism is one of those gangs of which Robert Frost would approve.

Albion doesn't claim to be the only place that empowers its graduates and supports faculty and staff as they pursue grand dreams. But, we are among a group of colleges that have done it remarkably well. The liberal arts colleges of the nineteenth-century frontier crafted an educational philosophy that is both unique and effective. When I need a bit of encouragement I enter the phrase "distinctively American" into the Google search engine. I am inspired every time I see the first hit: Google "believes" that private, residential, liberal arts colleges are even more American than apple pie or the New York Yankees. I am convinced that we can go one step further and claim to provide an America with a competitive advantage. I believe the heavy concentration of liberal arts colleges in the heartland contributed to the economy and quality of life enjoyed by the Midwest throughout much of the twentieth century.

Now, when the world needs graduates of our distinctive colleges more than ever, and when the Midwest is struggling to regain its footing, our sector is under attack. Our graduates are held in high esteem since their accomplishments can't be denied. But our counterintuitive methods are discounted, and our handcrafted approach is seen as a luxury.

We can, we will, and we must withstand the skepticism and criticisms of those who have not experienced and do not understand the deceptive simplicity of the foundational principles that regularly produce remarkable graduates. We will thrive as long as our graduates continue to succeed and as long as those of us who are fortunate enough to have experienced a residential, liberal arts education maintain the faith.

I have a series of favorite texts that I read when I need to bolster my belief in these distinctively American colleges. Faith does, after all, need to be nourished from time to time. I have asked students to read for you six texts that are meaningful for me. Perhaps you will add one or two of these to your list of personal favorites.

The six students will read as three separate pairs; the passages for each pair are linked&emdash;at least in my mind. There are additional linkages between the pairs. I like two of these passages because I imagine that they played on the minds of our founders as they were creating this College. Three of the readings are from folks who grew up in my neighborhood. And, for the general good of the order, one brings a bit of thermodynamics into our ceremony.

Mikal McKoy and Abby Radwick will share wisdom from two of the great storytellers of all time. Jesus and Kurt Vonnegut would be on nearly everyone's top ten list of "Made Effective Use of Parables." In my opinion, they also shared an understanding of the most important principle of a liberal arts education.


Our founders were almost certainly familiar with the twenty-second chapter of Matthew. There is much good advice in the five verses I will read, but listen with particular care to the final thought; it could easily serve as the inspiration for creating a liberal arts college.

36 "Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?"
37 He said to him, "'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.'
38 This is the greatest and first commandment.
39 And a second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'
40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets."


Any speech by President Ditzler that is longer than a few minutes—and that would be just about every speech he has ever given—will likely include at least one thought from Kurt Vonnegut. Today's speech is no exception. In his essay entitled A Man without a Country, Vonnegut reminded us that all stories have the same, easily acquired building blocks; the challenge is understanding how to use them. In a statement that is as simple as it is profound, Vonnegut reminds us that…

A book is an arrangement of twenty-six phonetic symbols, ten numerals, and about eight punctuation marks, and people can cast their eyes over these and envision the eruption of Mount Vesuvius or the Battle of Waterloo.

I shared these passages with one of my new friends at Albion, and his reaction was, "Jesus would have made a good organic chemistry professor at Albion College."

On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. Doesn't that sound a bit like a professor saying "these few rules will allow you to determine the name of thousands of compounds or predict the outcome of tens of thousands of reactions." Don't try to memorize all ten thousand; learn a few basic principles instead and then learn how to think. Understand the important principles, develop skills at applying them, and you will do remarkable things.

One of the things I appreciate about Vonnegut is his lack of subtlety. No mysterious symbolism. He reminds us that everything we need in order to tell a great story—and by extension motivate and move people—was learned in first grade. As soon as we know the alphabet and the numerals, everything else is learning how to apply these simple tools.

Perhaps one of the reasons the uninitiated are skeptical when they hear about a liberal arts education is the deceptive simplicity of what we do. Think, don't memorize—deceptively simple and, at times, oh so hard to implement.

Our second set of readers, Kevin Claucherty and Madeline Drury, will remind us that audacious dreams are a logical outcome of what we do. Our graduates are few in numbers so we must count on each of them to do remarkable things. Our founders expected Albion to change the world, and they knew just how it would happen.

The frontier version of liberal arts differed from earlier forms in its intended audience. Rather than being an education for those who were already liberated, it was designed to liberate. This egalitarian twist should inspire our work on behalf of Albion College today, just as it did for our founders.


Mikal's reading from Matthew suggested that two commandments could substitute for all of the law and the prophets. Of course, that doesn't mean we won't find inspiration in reading the advice of Isaiah or Joel or Elijah or Amos. Our founders were Methodist, so they would have embraced the sentiment in the well-known oration from the fifth chapter of the Book of Amos.

23 Take away from me the noise of your songs;
I will not listen to the melody of your harps.
24 But let justice roll down like waters,
and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.


Just a few minutes ago Abby read a passage from Kurt Vonnegut that, at least to President Ditzler, complemented an insight taken from the Gospel of Matthew. I will stay with this pattern of tying a bit of Hoosier wisdom to an idea from the Bible. Eugene Debs worked and agitated in Terre Haute, Indiana, only a few miles from Mauri Ditzler's childhood home. In 1918, while on trial for having spoken against World War I, Debs' Statement to the Court could have been inspired by Amos.

Years ago, I recognized my kinship with all living beings, and I made up my mind that I was not one bit better than the meanest on earth. I said then, and I say now, that while there is a lower class, I am in it, and while there is a criminal element, I am of it, and while there is a soul in prison, I am not free.

When we do our work well, our graduates are adept at pulling together information from a range of disciplines. This helps them to see the big picture. Because they see the big picture they can see how to change the world.

The prophet Amos criticized those who let the trees block their vision of the forest. Don't just sing and talk about justice, he argued. Set people free.

Had Madeline had time to read the remainder of Debs' Statement to the Court, we would have heard his argument for focusing on the big problems. He noted that America was blessed with bountiful resources, that creative people were building remarkable machines, and finally that there were many hard workers anxious to use those machines. But, despite this situation many still lived in poverty. He wasn't big on tweaking the system. Like Amos, he advocated a paradigm shift.

Dream big and plan to change the world in a way that most will find revolutionary. That sounds like the marching orders Albion has given graduates for generations.

Our final two readings, by Marina Baker and Zach Kribs, provide a sobering reminder that the tasks ahead are daunting. One could listen and be discouraged. Or, one could listen and realize that people can make a difference. Our handcrafted approach to education will thrive because of the cumulative impact of those who face the challenges of the day and refuse to give up.


Chemists like our president turn to the second law of thermodynamics when they want to predict the future. The second law tells us that spontaneous processes are accompanied by an increase in entropy. In other words, things are going to grow increasingly disordered. At the end of a lengthy explanation of the second law, the chemist and author Peter Atkins concludes:

We are the children of chaos, and the deep structure of change is decay. At root, there is only corruption, and the unstemmable tide of chaos. Gone is purpose; all that is left is direction. This is the bleakness we have to accept as we peer deeply and dispassionately into the heart of the Universe.

Yet, when we look around and see beauty, when we look within and experience consciousness, and when we participate in the delights of life, we know in our hearts that the heart of the Universe is richer by far.


My reading is from the opening paragraph of Ernie Pyle's Home Country. Pyle was an itinerant journalist from a small town "just up the road" from Mauri Ditzler's childhood home. For many, Pyle's imagery will be preferable to the authoritative scientific statements read by Marina. But even in Pyle's poetic language, the sentiments reflect some of the pessimism of the second law. I will defer to President Ditzler to provide an optimistic twist similar to the one that ended Marina's reading.

To me, the summer wind in the Midwest is one of the most melancholy things in all life. It comes from so far away and blows so gently and yet so relentlessly; it rustles the leaves and the branches of the maple trees in a sort of symphony of sadness, and it doesn't pass on and leave them still. It just keeps coming, like the infinite flow of Old Man River. You could—and you do—wear out your lifetime on the dusty plains with that wind of futility blowing in your face. And when you are worn out and gone, the wind—still saying nothing, still so gentle and sad and timeless—is still blowing across the prairies, and will blow in the faces of the little men who follow you, forever.

Indeed, there are lots of reasons to be discouraged. The second law suggests that our long-term prospects are hopeless. Reflections on how small we are, and how large and eternal the problems, are certainly reason to be as melancholy as the Midwestern wind.

But, if Zach had read another 300 pages of Ernie Pyle's recollections we would have learned that in every small town where Pyle stopped to write there were interesting, easily overlooked people who provide cause for optimism. And in every foxhole of World War II where he chronicled the actions of the front-line soldiers, there were unsung heroes whose actions gave his readers cause for hope.

And, I have discovered the same thing in Albion. Albion—the College and the Town—is filled with people who give us reason to hope. Let me close my remarks by sharing the names of just a few of the many Albion heroes whom I have met in only two months.

Professor Andy French and Mayor Joe Domingo were political rivals in the past election. Rather than continuing the battle after the election, they are working shoulder-to-shoulder to create a program that will make Albion College accessible to the young people who attend our public schools.

School superintendents Jerri-Lynn Williams-Harper from Albion and Randy Davis from Marshall created a smooth and productive transition for Albion's young men and women when our high school needed a partner. When others worried about the differences between the students of our towns, these two heroes focused on the students' common desire to learn.

Professor Jocelyn McWhirter had a vision for a Center for Teaching and Learning on campus. She didn't take no for an answer even when there was no money in the budget. So, thanks to her shoestring and her can-do attitude, our students and faculty are better at their craft.

Harry Bonner has repurposed negotiating skills he learned many years ago as a union steward in the local Corning factory. Now, we all benefit from his ever-present role creating consensus and getting things done for our community. Harry, I am lucky to have the counsel of one of Albion's elder statesmen.

Although retired, Professor Doug Goering continues to wear out the roads between Flint and Albion as he cheers for the Brits, supports his former colleagues, and inspires presidents in a style that is as calming as it is effective.

Elizabeth Schultheiss raises money and spirits for local causes far beyond what anyone can imagine. She continues to be an important player in helping us believe that we will soon enjoy a bustling downtown district.

Dr. James Curtis came to Albion over 90 years ago. He rode the train north as a baby, following his father who was in the first wave of southern sharecroppers to come north for a job at Albion Malleable Iron. He was educated during an era when our public schools were segregated, and he attended Albion College and then the University of Michigan Medical School as the only African American in his class. After a long and distinguished career on the faculty at a very prestigious medical school he returned to his hometown. His eighth and now ninth decades have been devoted to building social support systems for some of our most vulnerable citizens. The biography that accompanies the description of the Research Center at the University of Michigan named for Dr. Curtis describes his life as a microcosm of America. That is certainly appropriate because, with all of its heroes and opportunities, with all of its blessings and challenges, Albion is America.

We are blessed to be hosted by a city that refused to fold when the industry that drove the local economy disappeared. When so many other cities might have given up, Albion held the faith. After all, they had to nurture a distinctively American college. And because of the people on our campus and in our community, and because we have the power of the liberal arts at our disposal, we expect nothing less than a bright future for Albion College; Albion, Michigan; and all of America.

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