Do you believe in miracles?

Posted January 21st, 2011 by Albert DeCiccio Ph.D., Provost, Southern Vermont College

I do. Abby - Al DeCiccio's daughter

In this photograph, my daughter Abby is about to take a shot at hitting the Green Monster at Fenway Park.  Now, that’s a little miraculous, because you don’t see too many young women swinging for the Monster in baseball’s regular season.  Still, though, those pink shoes do add something to the allure of “baseball’s most beloved park.”  Abby’s work as Media Coordinator for the Boston Red Sox is also a bit miraculous, because there are not a lot of women in baseball, never mind women executives.  Now, while Abby is not an executive right now, I think one day she will be, given her credentials and her work experiences.  That will be good for the Red Sox and for baseball.

On college and university campuses, students, faculty, staff, and administrators have been trying for a long time to bring about the miracle of the truly diverse campus.  It is hard.  Some have succeeded in making curricular and co-curricular changes; some have even succeeded in hiring for diversity.  But issues involving race, gender, class, sexual orientation, to name a few, still abound on campuses across the nation.

It takes enlightened leadership, transforming leadership, to make a truly diverse campus.  Such leadership involves great risk, because not everyone will want to acknowledge the power of a statement such as this one:  “There can be no excellence without diversity.”  The person who makes this kind of statement will be critiqued and maybe even pilloried for offering such a grandiose and unscientific statement.

Still, just as Abby needs to keep swinging for the Green Monster, literally and figuratively, just as the young American hockey team did at Lake Placid in 1980, just as the Boston Red Sox did in 2004 (sorry my dear Yankee friends!), all of us have to be willing to take such a risk so that the experiment in possibility that is the miracle of higher education may come to fruition.

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