H is for How Awesome is Kenyon?
When meeting new people, there is always the fear that they will say something that will make you hate them forever (not that I hate anyone or anything) and the anticipation of their saying something that will make you BFFs with them. Both feelings accompanied me to the introduction of the new President, even though there was a high chance that I wouldn’t get to be face to face with him. As my love for S. Georgia Nugent (fondly referred to as ‘the Nuge’ by students) had increased since our first hug at my International Pre-Orientation and I had grown to look out for that dash of purple that she had come to be associated with, I hadn’t yet come to terms with the fact that she was nearing the end of her 10-year tenure as President of Kenyon, to talk less of the fact that someone would be replacing her. So, I waited on my comfortable seat in the auditorium at Rosse Hall, waited for him to give his speech, waited for him to say that ‘something.’
No sooner had he opened his mouth and begun to speak than I heard it! He said the word awesome. To be precise, he said “How much I love the word Awesome!” And, as I felt the people around me let out a sigh of relief, I thought to myself “Mr. President and I are really going to get along! I love the word ‘awesome’ too!”
To make matters even better, he went on to give a little Chemistry lecture, comparing a liberal arts education at Kenyon to various protein folding models ending with the well-known fact that “it would take more than a lifetime of a universe for a student to obtain the equivalent of a Kenyon education.” At that point, I had one of those random moments; one when you suddenly realize that there is no place you’d rather be (well, besides Lagos and Chicago) than here, listening to the President of your college giving a Chemistry lecture to almost every member of the community and smiling when you lock eyes with a Professor you haven’t seen in a long time that’s sitting 10 rows away from you (I see you Professor Edmunds!).
It was especially wonderful for me to hear the first African-American President of Kenyon put my two favorite words (well, besides food, sleep and no-homework) in one sentence that will remain with me till the day I die. He said “Kenyon is not just awesome, but totally awesome” and, looking around me at the faces of students, faculty members and community members that I had come to love, I totally agreed with Mr. President.