First Word

Susquehanna Traditions

L. Jay Lemons

Campus is humming with the energy of a new academic year. It is great to welcome back our returning students and to meet the Class of 2017. I love the rhythm of life on a college campus!

This year, we are launching Susquehanna Traditions, an initiative aimed at creating a greater sense of community and belonging among our students and heightened engagement on the part of alumni. The kickoff of Susquehanna Traditions represents the culmination of well over a year of work involving alumni, the Board of Trustees, faculty, staff and students. Some of you are aware of the Susquehanna Traditions program and have participated in
its development. We appreciate your willingness to contribute your time, talent and ideas, which have played a significant role in getting us to this point.

As we planned for a student- and alumni-engagement initiative, much of the conversation focused on finding a way to get at the heart of Susquehanna. We vetted many options for a graphic identity tied to the program and landed on the ginkgo leaf. I am sure that will bring a smile to some faces and maybe a frown to others, given the undesirable scent produced by the seeds that seasonally dot the walkways of campus. Regardless of the sentiment, the Ginkgo evokes emotion, and that is a good thing.

Why the Ginkgo? Well, there is far more to this tree than what meets the nose.

One of the oldest trees growing on the planet, the Ginkgo has evolved over time. Likewise, Susquehanna has changed, creating distinctive programs in response to an ever-changing world. The Ginkgo also is known for its resilience, which mirrors the resilience and strength of the Susquehanna community. In the East, the Ginkgo is considered “the bearer of hope,” and here at Susquehanna, we see each class of students as a symbol of hope. Each new class of graduates carries into the world a sense of optimism, stemming in part from confidence in the ability to change the world through lives of achievement, leadership and service.

Although all students eventually leave our hallowed halls to make their way in the world, students-turned alumni remain rooted in this place and its people. As with any family, our traditions help ground us by reflecting a sense of place and time. Many of you have told me that recollections of Susquehanna’s traditions continue to warm your hearts.

I am excited about Susquehanna Traditions and I am proud to be a Susquehannan. One of the gifts of the presidency is the privilege of witnessing the tremendous benefits of alumni who remain connected and engaged in the university. The greatest beneficiaries of alumni engagement are our students. They are walking in your shoes. By staying involved, you can enrich their lives by sharing your life experience, your professional expertise and networks, and by opening doors that otherwise would not be open to them. I invite you to remain engaged and informed. We need you. Our students need you.

Please join me in supporting Susquehanna Traditions. Perhaps you more than anyone know that our traditions are so very much a part of this place we call home.

With very best wishes,

L. Jay Lemons, President



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