This past weekend, as per usual for homecoming, campus overflowed with present students, alumni, faculty and staff coming together to celebrate AU. In a lot of ways, it just felt like homecoming. In other ways, though, it seemed much more than that.
It is a rare feat to accomplish 100 years of service as any institution, but especially as a place of higher education. As trends change and new colleges and universities spring up, old ones are left with the burden of adjusting, competing and staying relevant in the ever-changing realm of education.
AU has certainly not been perfect over the years, nor is it now. There are, however, several things that make AU stand out and make its 100 year celebration well-earned and expectant of the future rather than as a conclusion. AU’s path is bright.
The faculty and staff that have made this place what it is structurally have set us apart. In 100 years, we have had only five presidents. Faculty come from places like Princeton, Notre Dame, Yale and, yes, Anderson University. Our staff—from Marty in Create to the unseen janitors, smiling administrative assistants and everyone in between—make this place better. That prospective students, the AU of tomorrow, are able to experience the university in such a way that leaves a positive impression, is largely thanks to our staff members.
The alumni of Anderson College and Anderson University also mark this place in spectacular ways. When they depart from these halls, they never fully turn away. No, they keep one foot in the door, waiting for someone who needs a hand from a fellow Raven. From the dedication that alumni display in their donations to the doors they open for young Ravens’ careers, the alumni are touching this place daily, making it thrive and keeping AU going.
And then there are those of us who walk this campus today. We are the generation who gets to say we were here, truly here, for the centennial.
We were the ones who played in homecoming football, soccer and volleyball games. We were the ones performing on stage at Byrum as campus flooded with history.
We were the ones making Cheap Thrills funny, Encore a show worth a standing ovation and the luminaries bright with celebration. We were the ones working long hours and complaining about the most mundane annoyances of life.
We were the ones creating the newspaper and making the news happen. We were the ones living in this place.
We were the ones making AU come to life with possibility.
We weren’t past tense. We aren’t past tense. We simply are.
We are the generation of today. We are the ones paving the way for the future of this place.
The centennial, although a beautiful celebration of where we have been, is really much more about where we are going. AU is heading in the direction of tomorrow, and we are a large part of making that tomorrow reality.
Let’s make the next hundred years better than the first.