A Deep Summer Breath • Huffington Post Exhortations • New Dorm

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I think this place is finally starting to take a breath.

No matter what the department, any given semester here spirals upward and sideways and upward again until its energetic crescendo marked by exam-time midnight screams and, in spring, commencement. Speaking of which, here’s a link to Professor of Mathematics Tim Chartier’s graduation “speech” on Huffington Post.

For the past two years, Davidson’s graduation was the unofficial marker of summer, followed closely by the traditional faculty-staff appreciation day, at which this year President Quillen cracked us up with a couple of choice “all in the family” bits.

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Then, it’s Memorial Day and the blessèd loosening of some of our calendars in June and July. Yes, only some. You’d be surprised how much Davidson College physical plant folks get done between Commencement and Orientation every year, even when there’s not a 251-bed residence hall under construction, which there is now, thank you very much.

And now that we have moved Alumni Reunion to early June, the undercurrents of frantic campus activity roil a bit longer into the warm weather, until the last happy alumnus has piled into the family crossover hybrid and toodled on back up or down 77. That happened Sunday, so…. altogether now:

Ahhhhhh!

Summertime, case in point: Today I had Hansford Epes on my calendar for a laidback sandwich hour in the Union. But come to find out late yesterday that lo and behold, the wonder women of South Chambers had pooled resources to make a Subway run in Hansford’s honor today, so I got invited. What fun! I got there early and helped set up the President’s Conference Room with paper plates, and greeted Hansford and introduced myself to the one other male in the room, David Heilbron ’13, who is working in Academic Affairs this summer. The gang was all there, these friendly, fun, smart, funny people, generous of spirit and quick of with, who keep Chambers humming no matter what. Today, much of the no-matter-what was apparently happening somewhere else, so we all just hummed along our respective familiar tunes, chatting and laughing three or four conversations at a time, occasionally coming into one big happy flow across the table before streaming back out into smaller rivulets. Yes, I’m mixing my metaphors, so sue me. It’s summer.

Honestly, I can’t remember what all we laughed about, foolishness mostly, but laugh we did, and loud and hard. There was this one recurring bit involving everybody, about the effect of a baby on a group, and that progressed to the effect of a dog on a group, so I ran outside and got Dodger from the bench I’d tied him to with a Duke TIP kid to prove a point. I mean, I went and got Dodger to prove a point, not tied him to a bench with a TIP kid. I mean, not with a TIP kid. I mean—I didn’t hurt any kids, okay? Nor dogs neither! Sheesh. Anyway, back inside, things veered even a little more out of control when Marcia started giving Dodger multiple potato chips in rapid succession, with predictable results in the offing, so time came to break it up and get back to work. Sigh.

All that to say: I love summer on this campus because it offers a bit more time in the day—or at least the occasional feeling of a bit more time in the day, and even at that, don’t ask anybody in Annual Fund until after June 30!—to touch base with the fine, fun people of Davidson College, staff and faculty from across campus, to breathe the same air of conversation for its own sake and laughter just because, in real time and in real space.

Ahhhhhhh.

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