Ronald R. Thomas
Vol. 40, No. 4 Summer 2013
Chuck Luce
Cathy Tollefson ’83, P’17,
Associate Editor,
Julie Reynolds
Ross Mulhausen
Photographer, unless
credited otherwise
Alumni Council Executive Committee
David Watson ’92,
Leslie Skinner
Brown ’92,
Vice President;
Amy Ma
Winterowd ’99,
Allison McCurdy
Kalalau ’03, M.A.T.’04; Ken McGill ’61,
Immediate Past President;
Deb Bachman
Crawford ’80; Sunshine Morrison ’94;
James Oppenheimer ’14,
Student Alumni
Association President;
Mark Penaroza ’02;
David Poston ’85; Andrea Tull ’02; Steve
White ’68; Ed Wilder ’86
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with community and collaboration, indepen-
dence with interaction, all supported by com-
mon seminar rooms in the west wing of the
building, a screening room for viewing films
in the lower level, classrooms, a green court-
yard, and group study areas. And there is also
a two-story great hall off the Commencement
Walk entry, for gathering all 135 residents
and others) in front of a huge fireplace for a
meal, a lecture, a movie screening, a perfor-
mance, or concert.
I think of the whole thing as a seminar
without a schedule. (In a good way!) Did I
mention breathtaking views of the sound and
Mount Rainier?
It’s not the views that take my breath away,
though. It’s all the viewpoints that will be
explored, explained, and exchanged here. Lis-
ten to the voices: the casual conversations, the
chance encounters, the bright ideas, the crazy
notions, the heated debates, the intense cama-
raderie, and the points of conflict with which
upper-class students will wrestle as they test
their wings, try on new identities, and pursue
fresh lines of inquiry. Most important, the
residents of these rooms will grow from the
seeds that are planted here—the friendships
that will endure for years to come, the life-
changing vocations that will be pursued, the
life-affirming and incandescent moments that
will never be forgotten. And the pizza.
It is fashionable in some circles today to
suggest that the days of the bricks-and-mortar
campus are past, a romance, a luxury no lon-
ger viable or valuable. “Disruptive innovation”
is a term we have heard a good deal of late,
evoking an image in which higher education
is efficiently “delivered” through “technol-
ogy enablers” anytime and anyplace, freed
from requirements like the traditional col-
lege campus or a relationship with a mentor.
That prediction depends on what we think a
college education is and what it should do. If
we believe it is a process of personal develop-
ment, where talents are discovered and nur-
tured in intimate settings, an enduring act of
self-discovery and human development in the
company of caring guides—as I do—then we
must continue to make inspiring places for
these things to take place. We have to build for
the future. Anything else, in my book, is a fan-
tasy—disruptive, maybe, but not necessarily
an innovation.
Over the last few months, the occasion of
Puget Sound’s 125th anniversary has brought
many opportunities for interviews and conver-
sations with newspapers and magazines and
public officials and alumni and students about
the university’s past, its present, and its future.
Invariably I am asked what my favorite place
on campus is, or what I am most proud of,
or what the biggest new thing on the drawing
board is. As I think about such questions, my
first thought is, “my favorite thing is the next
thing.”While I am always struck with a deep
sense of pride in our past and excitement about
our present, I am absolutely fascinated by our
future. It’s what we are building at Puget Sound
every day—not just with bricks and mortar but
by investing in enduring relationships with the
young people of the next generation, enabling
and inspiring them to design their own
dreams, to give shape to their deepest aspira-
tions, to establish a firm foundation for the
future they are building. This is beautiful.
Watch out for that large crane over there,
swinging the massive glass windows overhead
that will soon cover the east wall of the great
hall. That façade doesn’t look like much now—
just a great jagged gap in the otherwise elegant
brick-and-sandstone wall. But soon it will
be the lens through which tomorrow’s lead-
ers gaze out across a green field and over the
treetops at a great mountain, glowing in white
on the horizon and calling to them like their
destiny. So beautiful.
In the half-finished building that will be their
home in the fall, students of business and
leadership prof Lynnette Claire draw from her
hand straws to decide where their rooms will
be. The students will be residents of the Entre-
preneurship and Leadership House.