Hold That Thought

Hold That Thought2020-09-10T19:27:13+00:00

Hillbilly Memories

President David Johns (January 6, 2021) One of my teachers used to say that no one should publish a book before turning 50. That was overstated, to be sure. However, J.D. Vance’s “Hillbilly Elegy” is a good example of why memoirists ought to have gray hair. “Hillbilly Elegy” became a New York Times bestseller shortly [...]

Reliving the Pandemic

(December 8, 2020) I relived the pandemic while packing to move. Each plate, bowl and glass got its own section of newspaper as I wrapped them and tucked them carefully inside boxes. Coffee mugs wrapped in January’s news — hints of a virus likely to spread widely. Ceramic pitchers padded in February’s announcements of infections [...]

Return to College Must Work

(August 26, 2020) As students move back to college this month, the usual excitement and bittersweet goodbyes are being seasoned with apprehension and whispered prayers. None of us are naive, we know this is going to be challenging. We know we must take extra precautions. We know everything could turn on a dime at any [...]

After COVID…What?

(August 5, 2020) After COVID . . . What? What awaits on the other side of COVID-19? We have all thought about it, whether out of weariness or a need to plan ahead. But, while we have imagined it, an answer is nowhere in sight. It seems premature to ask the question because no one [...]

Justice Requires More Than Words

(June 24, 2020) No words, no official statements, no acts of contrition are sufficient in this moment of our history, because nothing can erase generations of pain and oppression. Nothing we can do will ever undo what has been done. I am heartbroken by the violence of injustice that results in senseless death decimating families [...]

Lessons from a Silent Campus

(April 8, 2020) As the coronavirus spread across the globe engulfing community after community, our campus grew more quiet. Students began leaving for home--a dozen one day, a hundred the next. Then, staff members joined faculty by working remotely from their own homes. Like musicians walking off a stage, one by one, during a symphony, [...]

A Skilled Workforce is Not Enough

(March 4, 2020) There is a lot of talk in Richmond and Washington, D.C. these days about the need for a skilled workforce. Without a doubt, there are gaps in trades and professions that must be filled if we are to build a good future for ourselves and for our children, and must be filled [...]

Ferrum Means Iron – Strong and Resilient

(January 29, 2020) Not long ago, I asked a group of prospective students visiting our campus: “Who knows what the word ‘Ferrum’ means?” Many folks who studied the Periodic Table of the Elements in school may remember the answer to what is labeled Fe on the table. One of the gathered students, not too far [...]