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Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Nourishment for the soul

“The arts, quite simply, nourish the soul. They sustain, comfort, inspire. There is nothing like that exquisite moment when you first discover the beauty of connecting with others in celebration of larger ideals and shared wisdom.” – E. Gordon Gee

I had the opportunity to meet and talk with the thoughtful Gee when I was working with Scholarship America and we hosted a national symposium on “access to education” in Providence, R.I., where he was president of Brown University.    I was struck by his commitments to opportunity for everyone to have access to higher education, and also to writing and the arts.

Gee, who was born on this date in 1944, has held more university presidencies than any other American.  In addition to his time at Brown, he was president of the Ohio State University, chancellor of Vanderbilt University, president of the University of Colorado, and of West Virginia University, where he had his first presidential position in the 1980s and then returned in 2014.  In 2010 Time magazine rated Gee one of the top 10 U.S. college presidents.

I believe that it is higher education's purpose and calling to keep open the door to the American dream,” Gee once said.
Writing and learning to question are crucial skills to be fostered in every student.   

I believe everything learned in college is an answer to a question that someone has posed.   Questions get posed differently, and the answers that come back transport us to places we never knew existed.”

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