One of the amazing (but slightly depressing) things about being a faculty member is that most of our students are 18-22 years old, year after year, but we get one year older every year. When I first started teaching in 2001, I was only a few years older than the seniors in my classes. Now, I’m almost a few decades older than a typical freshman in next year’s incoming freshman class. How did that happen? While it’s wonderful to have new students coming in the door all the time, it’s also bittersweet when they leave. In fact, to me, that’s the worst part of our jobs as faculty: we generally stay in the same place, but our students graduate and go on to live the rest of their lives. Obviously, we celebrate their successes and want them to fledge the nest. But it’s still sad to see them go.
It’s also bittersweet when faculty leave. As some of you know, Kit Anderson is retiring at the end of this year. Kit has been a mainstay in our Environmental Program for a couple of decades, and you can see her handiwork in many of the things we do in the Program. Though I’ve been here only a semester, Kit has profoundly influenced me and how I think about our Environmental Program and where it’s headed. Kit is the embodiment of many of the core principles and values we share. She has maintained high standards in her courses and with her students while simultaneously maintaining a wonderful sense of humor and balance. Her commitment to her courses comes across any time I hear from her students. And her scholarship is fundamentally interdisciplinary. Kit has influenced all of the faculty in our Environmental Program, probably more than she realizes. And she has influenced hundreds, if not thousands, of students who have passed through her classes or who have been lucky enough to sit down with her in her office.
So, Kit, we will all miss you. Thank you for everything. You know where to find us, and you know there will always be a piece of chocolate waiting for you when you come by The Bittersweet.
I’ll see many of you next week at the Senior Celebration on Tuesday night (RSVP if you haven’t already!), at the Arts & Sciences Awards ceremony on Friday, at the reception in The Bittersweet on Saturday, or at graduation on Sunday!
Happy (but slightly bittersweet) Friday –