Warch’s Greatest Hits, Part I-beth, see me about this before you run it (Peter) -dlh

Peter Gillette

President Warch has, at least during the last couple of years, always made sure to begin each speech by evoking the “wag” who once remarked that “college presidents deliver one speech, they just deliver it for different occasions” *********–********** so much so, in fact, that, if the wag weren’t already correct, he would be by now.
Nevertheless, the first Mortar Board “First Chance/Last Chance” lecture of the spring term and final convocation of the Warch presidency reprised the inaugural convocation, “Unamuno Begs To Differ” with 25 years of Lawrence University experience about the core themes.
As always with a Warch speech, students in attendance did not leave without knowing that their president is an avid reader. In fact, among those cited were, in no particular order: John Stuart Mill, a former baseball commissioner (and former Yale president, to be fair), Goethe, Unamuno, essayist and holder of an honorary Lawrence doctorate Joan Didion, Professor Harry B. Gray (the Cal-Tech chemist who, LU scientists told Warch awhile back, “nobody listens to”), G.K. Chesterton, and ********–******* quite notably ********–******** the alums who produced ******The Lawarchian*******, a recent newspaper of “affectionate abuse” distributed sparsely to students and alumni.
As impressive as that list of references is, one might be surprised to learn that Henry Merrit Wriston or his “The Nature of a Liberal Arts College” was not mentioned once.
Lecturing to a Science Hall 102 crowd comprised of eager students, respectful colleagues, and other perennial Warch speechgoers, he began with a capsule version of his address to alums across the country this spring, entitled “Valedictory.”
New alums and future new alums are encouraged to get in the habit of giving to the Lawrence Fund, even if these are “not always budget-balancing contributions.”
The balance of the address focused on core values of the liberal arts experience at Lawrence *******–******* values that, Warch argues, deserve and demand to be reflected upon despite the hustle and bustle of projects and deadlines and the like.
One suspects these themes might creep up in future Warch speeches, so don’t fret too much if you missed the event.
And those values are?
Much is made of Goethe’s dying words “Light, more light,” whose Latinate configuration “Veritas Est Lux” gives our university its motto. One imagines Warch may have raised a few eyebrows during his first convocation when he began the near-perennial tradition of reminding community remembers that Goethe was just having trouble seeing, not proclaiming the supremacy of ultimate revelation.
Instead of light, Warch renewed his assertion ******–******** echoing early twentieth century philosopher Miguel de Unamuno *********–******** that the problem is not a lack of light, it’s a lack of warmth. That is, without a continual return to values *********–********** “without morbid self-consciousness” *********–******** teaching and learning, Warch argues, recede into a merely quotidian framework.
Smart stuff, eh? To be sure, even the variant on “be an investor, not a consumer” found its way in.
“Action without purpose is merely activity,” Warch exhorted.
After about 20 minutes of talking, Warch took questions, ably ********–******* and quite graciously ********–******** dodging a couple toughies from students and ably waxing in response to Professor Brandenberger’s questions.
Predictably, we learned from the question and answer session, Warch will miss personal relationships the most.
And thankfully, at least from this editor’s perspective, a tough decision he doesn’t regret? Overturning a Judicial Board decision in the early 1980s that cut ******The Lawrentian********’s funding.