Letter from the President
Three months since my official arrival at Shimer and with the fall Board meeting about to take place, the fall is in full swing. While we are missing those who are in Oxford this semester, our classrooms are abuzz with debate, and those of us on campus have been engaged in imagining and reimagining Shimer. In addition to the reports offered below about various aspects of our work, there is other exciting news to share ranging from smaller to more significant changes.
As we build various collaborations across Chicago, we have begun to enhance our connections in various ways. Alderman Pat Dowell, who represents Chicago’s Ward 3, visited campus on September 20 as did the new president of the Field Museum, Dr. Richard Lariviere.
I am also grateful to recent alum Bob Kruse for hosting an event with representatives from city and state government, higher education and beyond to introduce me (and Shimer) to new friends. Building links among alumni remains important; we are indebted to Ed Walbridge for his leadership in reaching out to 1950s alums and to Nancy Nickel for her leadership on the alumni board. In every conversation I have had, linking current students to alumni has been emphasized as a form both of mentorship and of sustaining our community of inquiry, criticism, generosity and hope across generations.
Conversations are ongoing regarding ways to strengthen our relationships with cultural organizations across Chicago as well as educational alliances within and beyond the Chicago area. We hope to have exciting news on this front soon.
I have already noted the efforts of alums in helping Shimer thrive. Of course, we are also sustained by the hard work of colleagues on the staff and faculty. We have welcomed Elaine Vincent back as our Director of Admissions and welcomed James Bowers as our new Associate Director of Admissions. We celebrate B David Galt’s many contributions to Shimer during his time here, most notably in student life and in creating and sustaining a strong relationship with IIT, and wish him the best in his new position as Regional Manager for a national educational service in Boston. A search is ongoing for a new dean of students, led by Elaine Vincent and engaging the IIT Dean of Students Katie Murphy Stetz, who brings substantial expertise to the table.
We continue to make significant progress in moving forward a large scale initiative to undertake marketing research and enhance Shimer’s visibility, including our web presence. At a smaller, but equally vital scale, our “micro” or “guerrilla” marketing initiatives continue to burgeon. I want to express my thanks to Sam Henderson ‘98, who helped us put together this month’s President’s Challenge (more information below). Sam Henderson has also uploaded pictures to a website called History Pins. This mobile app allows you to enter a location—or use the one where you are standing—and see historical pictures of that location which have been uploaded by others. So, if you go to the site (or use the app), you can now enter Mount Carroll, Waukegan, or 3424 S. State Street in Chicago and see a range of historical pictures of Shimer. Likewise, Stuart Patterson has been a gem in ensuring Shimer’s engagement with and visibility in Banned Books Week.
And, of course, our monthly challenge. This month, I’m challenging you to become a Shimerian Wikipedia editor. Wikipedia, acknowledging the small percentage of female editors and the lacunae in coverage of notable women, has launched a Women-in-Wikipedia Editathon this Friday. I’d like to extend the Editathon for the rest of this challenge period.
Sam Henderson and Ann Dolinko have put together a list of Shimer-related women whose Wikipedia entries could use some help. Or, pick a notable woman of your choice, go to her entry, and add what you know! Then tell us that you did so, and we’ll make a note of it on Wikipedia to spread the word about Shimer smarts.
For more information about the challenge, check out “News” on alumni.shimer.edu.
Wishing everyone a happy fall,