A Message from the President: Looking Back Helps Us Move Ahead

Friends and Colleagues:

This issue of New Directions represents a significant turning point in Saybrook’s ongoing 40 year history:  the announcement of a major new partnership, new programs, and a renewed effort to bring humanistic solutions to a world that desperately needs them.

As a result of these initiatives I am now more confident in Saybrook’s future than ever.  At a time when higher education is facing a crisis of resources, we have managed to increase enrollment to its highest point in our history, while offering classes and education second to none.  Now we have new partners with exceptional expertise to support our efforts in admissions, student services, business administration, and marketing.  We are poised on the edge of great things.

But I am reminded of Carl Jung’s teaching that everyone carries a shadow with them.  I am not so arrogant as to think Saybrook an exception to this rule – and even if I were, my faculty and staff would correct me.

What is most remarkable to me about my staff and administration colleagues at Saybrook is their commitment to keeping our light on our students, even if it means they themselves stand in the shadow.  Our students and alumni often have not seen the way our staff, inspired by the same humanistic ideals that have led people to enroll here for over 40 years, have taken on their burdens:  struggling to support not just the education we offer, but the people we’ve offered it to, as much as possible.

Their work over the last year has been extraordinary.  We are thriving because of them, and have more to offer today because of their work.  That is the light.

The shadow for us today is that our new partnership, which our staff and administration worked so hard to put in place, will inevitably lead to redundancies.  Some of the very staff members whose exceptional sacrifices made this turning point in our history possible will, by the next term, be leaving us.

This is not a surprise. They knew this was a likely result of partnering with TCS when this was first proposed.  They chose to move forward regardless.  

I mention this, at a time when we are otherwise celebrating, because their willingness, their decisions, to move ahead for the best interests of our students and mission, even knowing they could be victims of their own success, represents the best of what Saybrook stands for.

I want to reaffirm, at a time when we are otherwise celebrating, that we will live up to their example, and continue that level of dedication.  Our mission, and the students and alumni who carry it into the world, will always be our first priority.

I believe Saybrook inspires this level of commitment in those who work here, as it does those who study here, because the need for what we do in the world is obvious.  The legacy of Rollo May and Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow;  the need for systems to put human beings at their center;  the importance of self-care and community care;  the need for meaningful purpose in a world that is increasingly automated and depersonalized – these challenges that endanger the world also bring out the best in those who would save it.

We intend to save the world.  We have much to live up to, and are more dedicated than ever

But there is always a shadow.  It is the Saybrook way to acknowledge that, and honor it, as we redouble our efforts.  

Posted at 12:44 AM

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Nicely stated

Posted by caren janis baroff (not verified) | 03/15/2014 @ 07:53 AM