March 15 – Lance Swain’s story from March 2014

Wednesday  March 15  —  is it spring yet?

A clean sky & a bright moon, 17 degrees, sun and wind on the way.  My university hosted a Conference of Mercy Higher Education site visit from Sunday afternoon until yesterday about noon.  To prepare, a seven person university host team searched the three campuses for evidence that when we do what universities do — research, teaching, mentoring, service —  Catherine McAuley and her successors are alive as leaven and vision.   The searching yielded a 21 page self study we sent to the four visitors a month ago.  It organized & framed five months of conversations among students, faculty, staff, and trustees, the fruit of some disciplined attention.  When they delivered their exit observations, they and lots of us Detroit Mercy regulars felt the work was worth it.

The late Nor’Easter along the Atlantic coast required some nimble adaptations,  the search team lost their DC area chair to the snow and a street-smart veteran of such visits stepped in a couple of hours before the opening dinner at Detroit’s Traffic Jam and Snug.  By departure time,  the foursome reminded me of a well coached hockey team which can manage line changes quickly.  Here in Detroit our snow has been notable and beautiful but less an attention-getter than back East.   For winter lovers though,  each below freezing day garnished with wind and sun can make you want to go out and play like a kid.

Meanwhile, the wearing tensions in the President’s 100 days continues to stir fear and contention.  Paying attention to both my university’s strengths and challenges, and this country’s as well led me back to a wonderful story posted in March of 2014.    Strictly speaking,  it’s not poetry but what Lance Swain did fill that day with beauty.  Reading it three years later refreshed my spirit; yours too I hope.

Have a blest day.

john sj

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