Well, it's official. Erie native Thomas Gamble took office as president of Mercyhurst College on March 1 and a reception was held in his honor at Mercyhurst North East today...I just got home from the event.
Everything I've seen about Dr. Gamble has been positive. He seems very capable and knows Mercyhurst well. Plus, he is an Erieite, which I think is cool. He will do well in the job.
During his inaugural address, Gamble cited Thomas Jefferson and epistle writer St. Paul. The Jefferson quote was from Jefferson's inaugural. I found the speech on the Web and it's worth reading . It's particularly interesting to see how opposed Jefferson's thoughts are to the current Bush Administration (he was certainly more like Bill Clinton [whose middle name was "Jefferson"] than anybody else in politics these days).
First off, I don't think that Dick Cheney or George Bush could write as well as Jefferson, at least I haven't seen anything to suggest that they could. Maybe I'm wrong, but don't they have speechwriters do that these days? That, in itself, is fairly devious--certainly ingenuous--and it goes on all the time in both parties.
And this is not to attack Cheney and Bush; I don't hold any hatred for them personally. I just think that most of the men governing the United States in 2006 are not particularly great men. Cheney is a heck of businessman (a 21st Century robber baron), but he's not a great statesman, and Bush has received help at every step of his life. If Bush was born to an average, middle-class family, he would have amounted to very little in life. He may have been killed in Viet Nam, he wouldn't have been accepted to Yale, and he certainly would not be president. So there it is: power is everything (except in Clinton's case, as he was born to humble beginnings).
But this entry is about Gamble, not Cheney and Bush and Clinton. So far, Dr. Gamble has spoken of his plan for the "first 1000 days." As part of this plan, he plans to take the school from a trimester schedule to a semester schedule, and he plans to put his weight behind the development of the Mercyhurst West County campus (MWC?).
I support the move to a semester schedule, particularly at Mercyhurst North East, because it is an opportunity school. Let's face it, the real learning in a college course takes place between weeks 10 and 15. That's when the students finally understand the teacher and the teacher understands the students. To chop it down to ten weeks---no matter how long the classes are and how often they meet---just doesn't have the same effect.
I have to sign off for now, but I want to take this up again. I want to dig out that quote from St. Paul that Dr. Gamble cited, but my notes are at school and I'm at home.