Message from the Dean: Prospering from Lessons Past
It was philosopher-writer George Santayana who first said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Santayana, who was educated in the United States from the age of eight, was a Spanish immigrant but considered himself an American and went on to become a Professor of Philosophy at Harvard. One of his star students, W. E. B. Du Bois, was able to attend college in large part due to donations that were collected by the congregants of his church. Du Bois himself became a prominent American civil rights leader and helped co-found the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). These linked pieces of history, like the articles in this issue of the eNews, remind us that it is in coming together as a community to educate our students that we keep our democracy vibrant.
Message from the Dean: The Sacrifice of Giving
Several years ago I had the privilege of hosting a refugee family. What started off as an offer of temporary housing turned into a three-year sojourn and eventually a lifetime friendship. From an outsider’s perspective, this may have seemed like a sacrifice on my part, and on some level it was. There were relatively minor sacrifices of time, finances, and privacy.
In retrospect, however, I received so much more than I gave. My new friends, displaced from their country of birth, could not reciprocate with money, but they more than “evened the score” with their gifts of love, thankfulness, cultural interchange, and loyalty.
Message from the Dean: Our 100 Year Plan
The venerable Chinese philosopher Confucius said that if you think in terms of a year, plant a seed, and if you think in terms of 10 years, plant a tree, but if you think in terms of 100 years, teach the people. In a world with potentially cataclysmic challenges like climate change, our future well-being is directly tied to our passionate resolve to teach.
Now more than ever, educating the students at CSUN remains one of the primary facets of the Oviatt Library mission, and this edition of the eNews will highlight the many ways that we accomplish this goal through hard work, innovation, and dedicated service.
A Message from the Dean: Unearthing our Flourishing Network
The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said that "all life is interrelated. We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied into a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one destiny, affects all indirectly.”
As Dr. King observed, there is a certain coherence to the world that seems to often stay hidden below the surface and then occasionally pops up like a spring daisy. Similarly, the stories in our Spring 2016 issue of the Oviatt Library eNews have a number of connective elements. These elements are surprising, inspiring, and thought-provoking.
Message from the Dean: The Gift of Giving Back
When I was a boy, I was inspired by the athletic skill and bold rhetoric of boxing champion Muhammed Ali. Later I learned of his commitment to service, what we often refer to as “giving back.” Ali said that “Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.” This is a helpful metaphor that perfectly captures the spirit of service: it’s an obligation that we have toward our fellow travelers on this planet that allows us to “give back” to others in a variety of ways. Some of us give back with our time; some with our treasure; and some through service-oriented careers.
Message from the Dean: The Impact of Interconnectivity
Woodrow Wilson was a political science professor, president of Princeton University, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, and president of the United States. In one of his presidential campaigns he used the slogan “The pen is mightier than the sword,” which should endear him to all those who love libraries. But it is another quote from Woodrow Wilson that I want to focus on in this dean’s message.
Message from the Dean: a Commitment to the Dream
Almost everyone agrees that higher education should be more affordable, especially for those who can afford it the least. Perhaps Bill Clinton said it most succinctly: “When we make college more affordable, we make the American dream more achievable.”
But how do we expand our access to more and more students and provide them with better tools while at the same time keeping the costs of a university education at reasonable levels? We need to embrace expansion, growth, and new technologies, but how do we do this without raising costs and limiting access to people in the state, regardless of economic challenge, who desire a college education?
Message from the Dean: Priorities and a Changing Library
One of my favorite television actresses, Marilu Henner, once said that “Like it or not, the world evolves, priorities change and so do you.” It’s a simple concept, but the truth is that many of us are fixed in cement once we write down a prioritized list of goals.
It’s not easy to be flexible with our goals. We may feel that others will criticize us for weakness or lack of focus. At the same time, we must take advantage of windows of opportunity and move our current priorities forward with intentionality and speed when an opening appears.
Message from the Dean: Join in the Transformation
Winston Churchill, one of the greatest leaders of the 20th century, once said that “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” I think what he meant by this statement was that the act of giving to people and organizations dear to our hearts enriches not just the recipient but also the giver. Generosity allows us to see more clearly that the world is much bigger than ourselves.
Message from the Dean: Grounding the New in Values Tried-and-True
The 17th century English poet Robert Herrick wrote, “Thus times do shift, each thing his turn does hold; new things succeed, as former things grow old.”
This lyrical wordsmithing by the poet could well describe the Oviatt Library over the past 2 years, and especially this fall season. Perhaps it is because September often brings with it the beginning of the school year, but many of us associate autumn with change and newness. This issue of the Library eNews will focus on some of the changes in the Oviatt that are re-making our space and bringing new life to an old, familiar place.