This past commencement I was awarded the Mary Pinschmidt Award by the Senior Class of 2021. The award was established in 1999 in honor of a long-time professor of biology and recognizes the faculty member who seniors select as the person they will most likely remember as the one who had the greatest impact on their lives. I am truly honored and humbled to have received this award. It’s been a strange four years, the strangest four year period that any of us can remember and I was just trying to get through it as best as I could. Personally, I’m not a big fan of individual awards because there’s very little that is solely due to one individual. What people don’t realize is all the people that make it possible to do the work that you do. Our Dean, Ken Machande, deserves a lot of credit for humoring my teaching and research endeavors. As does Gwen Hale who leads by example when demonstrating how to work with students. I would be remiss if I didn’t give just a bit of credit to Professor Rycroft who drags me to teaching seminars and is always available to bounce ideas off of, even at the sprite young age of 145. Lastly, all the students I’ve had really make it easy to do your best. Many years ago now I had to think of what kind of institution I wanted to be a part of, a large one with hundreds of students that was more status seeking or a more personable institution. I’ve never doubted my decision.
My kids and I created a virtual escape room to learn more about the Titanic and to keep ourselves occupied during the pandemic. It takes about 15 minutes to complete. So far only about 25% of the people that try get off the boat on the first try. Give it a try and feel free to share: https://forms.gle/bRgC8TC1buBvteMi6
Last week I had the pleasure of attending a talk given by our own Professor Dan Wolfe where he talked about how much the entertainment industry (TV and movies) has opened up. This is largely brought on by the online streaming services such as Netflix, Disney+, and Apple who are creating their own content. We’ve moved into an era where more competition has opened up greater demand for content. For comparison, Professor Wolfe compared the number of feature films created by Disney last year (12) to the number created by Netflix (200+). It’s never been a better time to create desirable content because content is king and if you’re creative their is demand for your services. His talk was posted to YouTube and is available here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=waLwGPXs-uk
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This morning, while I was dropping my daughter (9) at school a police office approached me to tell me that I had to move my car. I asked if I had parked in a no parking zone. He said that didn’t matter, I was blocking traffic, he could have my car towed because I was parked in the middle of the road. I don’t think that was true. Take a look for yourself.
Last month we were fortunate enough to tour the FBI Headquarters in Washington and hear from some of the agents on the work that they’re doing. The tour was arranged by the father of one of our alumni and from the moment we arrived to five hours afterwards when we left the FBI really went out of their way to give us an inside perspective of the work that the FBI does. We heard about the billions of dollars that the FBI manages. We also learned about the work that field agents do, the importance of counter-terrorism, and the fight against white collar crime including the infamous Bank of the Commonwealth case. The once in a lifetime experience represents the advantage of being part of a school that has such a strong alumni network and is located close to our nation’s capital.