Misc 1 - Universities are unusual in the importance they...

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Universities are unusual in the importance they attach to their past. And we do this in a host of different ways. When we have a commencement, there’s someone carrying a mace, and we’re reading stuff in Latin, and we’re marching through gates that are only opened in commencement because that’s what Brown students have done since time immemorial. We decorate our walls with pictures of dead people. All of these reflect the ways in which universities are communities that exist through time…. And I personally think that that’s an extraordinarily important part of universities, and that universities should and do try to instill that in students, that to come here, you are a member of a community, you are a beneficiary of the labors of those who came before you building this institution…. And I think it’s appropriate in that respect to not only instill a sense of loyalty or identity, but if we’re going to appreciate the benefits of our membership in this community across time, we also need to instill in people a sense of the responsibilities that come with that. That we take benefits from this institution, but our membership also entails certain kinds of obligations to those who came before us and who will come after us.… We’ve professed to cherish out past, we’ve professed to seek the truth. If these are the values we’ve professed, we simply don’t have the option to say, well, there are parts of our history that we’re not going to look at because they might be awkward, or because they might make our donor base uncomfortable. You just don’t have that option.26 Existing for generations, members of the university community are bound to each other and to the past in a strong, symbolic manner. University as museum
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Misc 1 - Universities are unusual in the importance they...

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