Yesterday at noon marked the opening ceremony to the 2012 Dr. James Borland Convocation Series. The program took place in Herrick chapel and featured theoretical cosmologist and author Janna Levin. President Jeffrey Docking welcomed everyone to the service and took a few minutes to discuss the changes that have taken place at Adrian College, as well as why the college has been successful despite obstacles.
“Many obstacles stand in the way of private schools,” Docking said.
Some of these hindrances include the number of people leaving the state of Michigan, the hurting economy, and the declination of high school graduates. Although there are many factors that have worked to keep AC successful, Docking attributes the success to the atmosphere of the entire campus.
“Overall the culture has changed at AC. We… have created a place students want to be a part of,” said Docking. “We’ve done it by putting students first.”
Levin’s lecture focused on how attributes such as creativity, innovation and imagination are exemplified when limits and constraints are recognized.
“Everything works within a system,” said Levin.
Levin utilized examples from various disciplines, such as mathematics, art, and literature to illustrate the relationship between creativity and constraints.
One of her examples included Einstein’s discovery of the limit of the speed of light.
“First the world was shocked,” said Levin about this discovery. “Then it led to the most creative outbursts in a hundred years… Simply by imposing this one single constraint, Einstein realized that space and time were not absolute.”
Other limits that led to innovations that Levin described included the limit to certainty in measurement, which paved the way for quantum mechanics and the limit to mathematics, which brought about the invention of computers.
“You can either define them, or you can learn to celebrate them,” Levin said about limits. “The more you impose limitations, the greater allowance for creative outbursts.”
Throughout her lecture, Levin utilized various video clips and images to get her points across.
“I liked the use of media because it gives you a visual aid,” said senior Gabrielle Willis. “My favorite part was the “Thomas the Tank Engine” video [to depict time and space]. I got to see what she was talking about, which made it a lot more reflective for me.”
As another part of the opening ceremony to the convocation series, 12 new faculty members were introduced, and two professors were presented with awards.
“One thing that has not changed [at AC] is the quality of education that students can get. It’s fantastic,” said Docking, “I fully agree that this is the best type of education that students can get.”
Robin Bott, English professor and director of the study abroad office, was awarded the Ross Newsom Award for Outstanding Teaching. Fritz Detwiler, professor of philosophy and religion, was presented with the Exemplary Teaching Excellence Award.
“I think [the two awards] are a nice way to recognize faculty in front of the student body to honor those who do such a fine job educating us,” said senior Alexandra Schaufele.
According to Schaufele, the convocation series is an academic asset to the college.
“I believe that it brings new ideas to our campus and broadens the staff and students’ knowledge base,” she said.