Friday, September 8, 2023
Dedicated students, distinguished colleagues and dear friends,
As we recognized and celebrated Labor Day, and as I reflected on the responses I receive from so many of our alumni, particularly those who related their stories of the 1960s, ’50s, and even ’40s, I couldn’t help but realize how much we have evolved. Reflecting on the past and pausing to appreciate the here and now. Particularly noticing how our fall semester is well underway, and our students are getting in the groove of campus life. Our enrollment in all categories is up, and our campus life is teeming with student activities here at S&T, as it is at universities across the nation. For us that means more than just hitting the books, attending classes and doing homework.
To highlight a few extracurricular activities on campus, last week marked the first of several observatory events planned for this fall. Our stargazing students, as well as members of our community, visited our observatory last Friday night to view Saturn. On the athletic front, our Miner football team opened its season with a home game at Allgood-Bailey Stadium on Aug. 31 with a good crowd cheering them on. All of our fall sports are now well underway, bringing even more excitement to the semester.
Many impressive performing arts activities on campus expose our students to renowned musicians and performers and allow them to get involved. Tonight marks the first student performance of the semester, “Constellations,” which will play tonight and tomorrow in the Black Box Theatre of Castleman Hall.
Another event coming this fall is a concert by The Bach Society of Saint Louis. This renowned group of musicians, established in 1941, will perform in Missouri S&T’s Leach Theatre at 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 14. Interestingly, this performance will be in collaboration with our student ensembles, including the S&T Chamber Choir and Jazz Choir.
The Bach Society event is one of several performances that are a part of this year’s Campus Performing Arts Series. Each year, this series provides our campus community and the public a broad range of performances in various genres. This year, for example, the series includes a classic rock supergroup, a Christmas Celebration on Ice and the Tony Award-winning musical Hairspray, among other offerings.
As many of our alumni point out, our campus has always been home to numerous cultural events and performances including the Bolshoi Ballet, the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, the Arianna String Quartet, and actor William Shatner of Star Trek fame. Acclaimed cellist Yo-Yo Ma, New York Times political columnist David Brooks and Nobel Peace Prize winner F.W. de Klerk, former president of South Africa, also appeared on various S&T stages as part of the Remmers Special Artist/Lecturer Series. That series, established by S&T alumnus Walter E. Remmers and his wife, Miriam, has brought many notables to S&T including former secretaries of state Henry Kissinger, Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice, former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, and former U.S. President Gerald Ford.
The Remmers series, like many social activities, was put on hold during the pandemic, but we are resuming the series and plan to have a renowned performer or speaker later this academic year. In addition, we are establishing a new Chancellor’s Distinguished Lecture Series to bring other notable individuals to campus. Stay tuned! Actually, I would love to receive your lecturer recommendations.
It is important to expose our students and the broader community to many annual cultural activities such as Celebration of Nations in downtown Rolla and student-led events such as Diwali Celebration of Lights, our Chinese New Year celebration and International Students’ Day. It is also important to provide opportunities for our students to create their own art. That’s where our performing arts program comes into play. Through our University and Chamber Choirs, Symphonic Band and Wind Symphony, University Orchestra, Jazz Ensemble, Marching Band, and Theatre, our students have the opportunity to express their creativity through music, dance and acting. These groups regularly perform before a live audience in Leach Theatre. In addition, many of our 200-plus student organizations offer students additional creative outlets, from ballet to aerial swing dancing to improv and more.
Involvement in cultural activities, from music and theatrical performances to participation in international events to attending guest lectures, enriches the campus experience and offers our students the opportunity to engage with the world beyond their academic studies.
I say all of this to say that there is more to S&T, a whole lot more, than science and technology. We are not just about human doing, but also about human being. Our artists fill our voids and help us focus on our life-affirming experiences, wonderments, bewilderments and the stretching of our imaginations.
So, join us, if you can, to savor a show, enjoy a performance and to see us in a different light.
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