Several times this past fall, I shared a quote from the American poet Robert Frost. He summed up all he had learned about life in just three words: “It goes on.” Despite all of the disruptions and challenges of the past year, I am proud to say that the extraordinary experience Austin College students receive goes on as well.
In August, we welcomed another diverse class of first-year and transfer students. This year’s Opening Convocation ceremony was held later in the evening, outdoors, socially distanced, and also live-streamed. Under a starlit Texas sky, I was reminded that with each new class, we add new voices that enrich our community. We add new voices that deepen the experience for all. We go on.
The theme of this issue of Austin College Magazine is “’Roos Respond.” You will see highlighted here several members of ’RooNation who are responding to needs throughout our country and the world. The Austin College community has always worked to meet the needs of the world wherever we find ourselves, but the past year has brought many of those needs into sharp focus, along with new challenges.
We are all working to be equal to this moment in history, whether we are educators in schools, at home, or working remotely. The many alumni who serve in health care have responded to meet a historic crisis head on, and still others respond in countless ways in congregations, neighborhoods, and families, connecting us through their words, their music, their presence, and their sheer persistence. Here on campus, I want to particularly recognize our faculty and staff who have responded by making it possible for students to continue their educational journeys no matter the obstacles they have faced.
’Roos have also responded to support theCollege philanthropically. This past fall, the POWER Austin College campaign concluded, having surpassed our ambitious $125 million goal. This makes POWER Austin College the largest campaign in the history of the College. The response of ’RooNation to the campaign has allowed for vitally important scholarships and for a number of construction and renovation projects. The new North Flats, a 133-bed facility, was completed on time and under budget. The creation of Sally and Jim Nation Theatre and Learning Commons in Ida Green Communication Center is finished and is stunning. Renovations in Craig Hall, Hannah Natatorium, and Hughey Gymnasium, including the Jim Rolfe Court, are also complete.
I remind all of our students that ’RooNation exists not only here and now but it also extends beyond the borders of campus, beyond their time here, and that they will always be part of it. Seeing ’Roos respond in the countless ways you’ll read about in this latest issue of the magazine will make you proud to be a part of this extraordinary community.
Life—It goes on! Austin College goes on. Let us look ahead with renewed hope and resolve.
Proud to be a ’Roo!
STEVEN P. O’DAY, J.D.