A couple weeks ago, near the "First Crossing" of the Santa Ynez River, I joined Paul Willis at the dedication of a new placard on the site of the Los Prietos Civilian Public Service Camp, where the poet William Stafford spent time as a conscientious objector. The valley narrows here, and the road emerges from the thick oaks and descends toward the riverbed. Asked to read a few poems at the dedication, I thought of Stafford's lines about an "Un-National Monument," another serene, out-of-the-way site where "no one killed—or was killed." There, "birds fly without sound" and the scene is "hallowed by neglect and an air so tame/that people celebrate it by forgetting its name."
That late January afternoon was a good prelude to February, when the Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot exhibit offers its own "plein air" glimpses on nature's tranquility and the Gaede Institute's 12th annual conversation will explore war and peace as liberal arts. February has always seemed to be the month when the pace of college life acclerates. At present, we have many faculty searches—in art, business, English, global education, kinesiology, music and sociology—underway. During the month we will also honor Dallas Willard with a Martin Institute conference for church leaders. And the pace will certainly pick up for the basketball season, with our two teams well poised for strong finishes.
Let me take a quick moment to thank Brittany Myles in the Office of Public Affairs for all of her help with the imagery and design of these reports. Thanks also to Caitlin Postal, a new student intern in our office, who is assisting with research and writing.