Isn't it an amazing thing when life offers up an exciting new adventure? Today, I set out on such a new journey as I took the role of part-time Executive In Residence at the William Allen White School of Journalism & Mass Communications at the University of Kansas.
I can hear and feel the mouse clicks, from my Mizzou and Kansas State friends, who are automatically thinking "I'm not reading this!"
But, hold on--this isn't so much about good ol' KU as it is about returning home. It's about the idea of spending time at that place which all of us pine for given that, universally, when we invoke the name of our college it's followed with "those were the best years of my life."
My return back has a stated purpose of assisting the Journalism School in how it teaches today's students coupled with a desire to more closely bridge the connection between the school and its alumni. Personally, though, this assignment goes much deeper.
It all was a bit surreal this morning when I made the three block walk from the Kansas Union to Stauffer-Flint Hall. There I was--gray haired, sport coat and slacks--amidst the flip-flopped and shorts-wearing collegians, all with requisite backpacks and earbuds attached. Fittingly, it was a glorious August morning with a hint of fall, signaling the coming beauty which will explode on Mt. Oread in another month or so.
I have always thought, ever since leaving this place back in the days of polyester plaid and long hair, that I would return in some sort of meaningful position or assignment. I'm hopeful that this new gig is, indeed, that opportunity. I'm hopeful that my desire to give back, to a place for which I care so deeply, will be fulfilling for me and useful to my academic colleagues and students here in the school.
I'll be filing reports, aptly titled "The View from the Hill," in the days and weeks to come as I observe the 2012 version of academe and spend quality time with today's students and faculty. And, while I will wax poetic on the beauty of the Kansas campus and this quintessential college town, I would ask my non-Jayhawk friends to consider the posts as a way to live vicariously through me, knowing that many of you would love to be back at your respective alma maters doing the exact same thing. I know I'm living the dream and I promise not to take that for granted.