Associate Professor of History
I love the beach! In the next phase of my life I plan to be a certified beach bum! Lingering for long hours on the beach is my second favorite thing to do. The seashore is an inviting hunting ground for treasure seekers. It offers an infinite variety of fascinating and intriguing objects, some in plain sight others hidden in the sand. Perhaps I inherited this knack for ferreting out treasure.
My mother was a seamstress who used her creative talents to bless our family as well as others. I enjoyed tagging along with her when she went to the store to purchase fabric. While in the store, she always checked the “remnant table”. It was an area, usually in an out-of-the-way corner, filled with a variety of leftover fabric. There was treasure there, if one only took time to search. Amid piles of not-so-neatly arranged odds and ends were pieces from full bolts to scraps with flaws. To a resourceful eye like Mom’s, these could be transformed into a masterpiece. No one would ever suspect it came from the discounted remnant table.
There are students who have been overlooked, tossed aside, discounted, or dismissed. They don’t seem to fit well in conventional settings; but many “have this treasure in earthen vessels” and they are destined to do great things. There is a restlessness and hunger in this remnant, a holy dissatisfaction. They search for identity and purpose. They are visionaries and builders. For over 30 years teaching has offered me the privilege of investing in this treasure trove of potential and future servant leaders; to pass on the historical legacy and longstanding concern with social justice issues; to pass on the lesson of the Master Teacher: “to whom much is given, much is expected.”
I must confess that in my many years of beachcombing, I have found only one pearl. Teaching has proven much more rewarding, yielding many pearls. Maybe, just maybe, some of those gems will become the desperately-needed agents of change, the “social engineers” the pioneering jurist Charles Hamilton Houston envisioned.