I had a great couple days on the Hendrix campus last week. There were plenty
of the usual meetings in conference rooms, the kind of things that academic administrators
know only too well as an unavoidable part of the job. But I also had a lot of fun
learning more about the Hendrix community and meeting many of the folks who work,
teach, learn, and live at the College. There was the public safety officer, who
told me about his military tours of duty in Grenada and Kuwait, as well as his continued
amazement at the things 18‑year‑olds can get up to on weekend evenings. And the
sports coach who introduced himself at the WAC and joined me in a few laps around
the indoor track, talking proudly about the wonderful teams of young people he had
recruited to Hendrix. And, of course, all the students: the classmates cramming
for a Native American history course over breakfast; the sociology and biochemistry
and religious studies majors from Maine and Louisiana, Nashville and Ghana; the
seniors headed to med school, Americorps, and a stint as a bartender; the group
struggling to remember the Mandarin word for "taste" at 11:30 at night. All impressed
me with their passion for their work and their studies, their clear affection for
Hendrix College, and their patience in putting up with my endless questions. I even
had the chance to meet Elvis: who knew he would be waiting outside Provost Entzminger’s
I enjoyed four meals on Thursday in the Caf, if you count that slice of pizza
at Late Night as a meal. I think I put on my full "freshman fifteen" in one day.
Grits and biscuits for breakfast, delicious BBQ brisket for lunch (thanks to Chef
for smoking this up with me in mind!), and a corn dog for dinner. Pure heaven. You
can take the boy out of Texas, but you can’t take Texas out of the boy. I hate to
imagine what will happen to my waistline when my office is just a stone’s throw
from the SLTC.
I will be back on campus once or twice a month in the spring and I look forward
to making more new friends, hearing more amazing stories about Odyssey projects
and study abroad trips, and perhaps indulging in another corn dog or two.
Dr. William M. Tsutsui, Dean and Professor of History at Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences at Southern Methodist University, was named the 11th President of Hendrix College. His presidency begins June 2014.