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This blog site will feature essays, columns and musings that deal with the intersection of Christianity and journalism and the American Songbook.

Dedication of Distinguished Portrait Gallery (speech: Central Washington University)

Central Washington University
September 20, 1985

Earlier this year Robert Theobald, the futurist, and large numbers of the academic community joined together for a week-long look at the future and Central Washing¬ton University’s place in that future.
I was taken by the remark of Theobald that every university requires a sense of mythology – some special integrating place or time which has the aura to focus the allegiance and respect and sense of community for all the disparate elements composing the academic village. He challenged us to nurture such a hallowed place and time for the sake of our institution.

I have considered his concept and I believe the Honors Convocation in June signals our effort to create a time to extend that sense of mythology in that we choose to reinforce what we at Central are about. This afternoon we dedicate a place to focus our commitment to the community of academicians.

So here we are. Social scientists, natural scientists, educators, humanists, artists, faculty and administrators. And we have come together this afternoon for only one overriding, all-encompassing purpose: to publicly dedi¬cate a place which will honor the finest in our academic family.

This unveiling ceremony is not a political event unless it is political to celebrate achievement. It is not a partisan effort – unless it is partisan to reward the effort of excellence. There is no hidden agenda this afternoon – unless the agenda is to say to future generations of scholars at Central, “We will appreciate and honor the outstanding among you.” There is no special interest group being given deferential treatment at this unveiling – unless the special interest group is a group of scholars whose performance has been excellent. What we have here is a simple ceremony in the life of this institution when we pause and say to a few among us, “Well done, colleague.”

This afternoon we unashamedly display for all to see that this wall is set aside by the University to draw attention to the academic masters among us. We can say to those past recipients – we have not forgotten your achievement. We say to the future recipients – we are ready and anxious to honor you as well.

Down through the years this institution can now proudly recite the names of the men and women we honor at this ceremony as exemplifying the finest tradition of rigorous scholarship and service.

We on the Board of Trustees are never more in awe, nor more impressed with our privilege, than we are at a time such as this when we can draw away from our some¬times tedious deliberations and are drawn back to the reason we gather together at all and that is to foster the advancement of academic scholarship and service at Central Washington University. For your statement of excellence as exemplified by your stellar performance, we thank you, distinguished colleagues. As Sir Richard Steele, the 18th century British essayist, suggested, “A favor well bestowed is about as great an honor to him who confers it as to him who receives it.” It is in this sense that the Board of Trustees basks in the honor bestowed upon you recipients.

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