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Human Love

I have been trying all week to focus “What’s on my Mind?” towards an academic imperative – mainly our work and an update on Guided Pathways or one of the college’s strategic priorities. But I just could not find the mental traction to do so. Instead, as I am sure many of you, I can’t seem to get the most recent life tragedy – the massacre in Las Vegas – out of my mind, heart and soul. This human-driven event coupled with the recent natural disasters in Texas, Florida, Mexico City, and Puerto Rico have caused me to stop, pause and think more deeply about loss, grief, sadness, unfairness and the fragility of life. Crashing in on these quiet reflections have been the loud chatter on all forms of media about the appropriate human and cultural reaction or response to such calamities.

Because our work around the power of learning is so oriented in human relationships and a culture of social engagement, please consider taking time this week to go deeper in connecting with our students and with each other. Many years ago, one of my first mentors shared with me that the core of being successful in higher education is that “…you must love students…” and he emphasized the notion of human love. Perhaps this is the only “appropriate” human response to the events of the last several months.


PVCC and U2 – Common Bond of Positive Social Change

On Tuesday evening of this week, while at the U2 Joshua Tree concert, my one allowed work related thought in between Bono’s captivating vocals and The Edge’s guitar riffs was that the legendary band U2 and PVCC have much more in common than a shared 30th Anniversary Celebration. Their seminal album The Joshua Tree (the 2017 tour moniker) was released in 1987 the same year that PVCC opened its doors to students.  More importantly, U2 and PVCC share a common bond around positive social change. Their anthem One was released with all of the proceeds going to AIDS research and is often attributed to their social justice causes. Their music is a means to a greater end. Just as learning at PVCC is a means to a greater end – positive social change as exemplified, for example, by the thousands of hours our students give back to the community through volunteerism and service.

Also this week, I was privileged to recommend five of our retired faculty for emeritus status – Umar Sharif, Jeanne Franco, Karen Kabrich, Sherry Adams, and Donna Rebadow – all exemplary teachers and champions of student success. During their acceptance comments, both Sherry and Donna presented compelling student stories and living, vivid examples of how they leveraged student learning to yield greater positive social change for our communities. I must say it was a U2 concert-like moment!

Last night, under the direction of Drs. Scinto, Reed, and Kelly, PVCC was rocked into the night at the Musical Tribute to 1987 – Rock vs. New Wave concert. All the proceeds from the concert go to a scholarship to support the pathway between Alice Cooper’s Solid Rock Teen Center and PVCC. So even our concerts are tied to positive social change – creating access for potentially at-risk students to come to college. With all due respect to U2, the Union 32 All Star Band can play! Their closing set was especially powerful – it was a PVCC concert moment that rocked my musical heart and soul.

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