Posted by: Chris Kretz | March 18, 2009

At Dowling: “I hope you dare to innovate.”

Tuesday, March 18, 1969

The Waldorf Astoria, New York City

Gardner Cowles spoke at the College’s first Charter Dinner in New York City. Cowles was the founder of Look magazine, publisher of the Suffolk Sun newspaper and Chariman of the Board of Cowles Communications.  Below are excerpts from his address as reprinted in Dowling News & Views

…These are frightening times in education. Old standards are crumbling and there is yet no consensus on what will take their place. Gone forever, I fear, are the days when the campus community was viewed as a kind of academic Garden of Eden, with its students happily eating fruit of the Tree of Knowledge under the kindly tutelage of Mr. Chips.

Young people seem to be looking for a community of some kind in their college or university. They may not be looking for a home away from home, or a substitute parent, but they do want the warmth, the sense of unity, that is generally today lacking elsewhere. They rarely find it in a giant university. Too often, they feel instead a cruel alienation, an icy aloneness. It shouldn’t surprise us when protesting students sing of being computer cards.

I am inclined to feel a college must become a partnership in experimentation – a true partnership of students, faculty and administration. Then, hopefully, the shouting will die down and meaningful dialogues can begin. Out of this should come a return to the campuses of calm, discipline, and order. These are essential to the learning process. Little learning ever takes place in a bath of chaotic noise.

Dr. Robinson, I hope Dowling will strive for significance, not size. I hope you dare to innovate. I hope Dowling develops a unique character of its own. Then I believe Dowling will be making an important contribution to the whole field of education.

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