Homecoming is a very strange time rife with the realizations of mortality smeared into your brain with a dash of melancholy. Alumni wander more frequently, from all ages and classes. Their eyes hold flashbacks to days long and short ago with a freshness that expresses itself in smiling mouths or stoic gazes. There is no greater way to see the strange oddity that is The College of Idaho and, really, anywhere on the planet than to witness paths and stories coalescing on familiar landmarks ranging from Berger’s Bench to the Kirkpatrick block of McCain. Every inch is filled by meaning and illumination, experiences that no one will ever truly know but for those that experienced them.
Amidst the nostalgia hummed a different heartbeat to the entirety of the campus. The word inauguration hung on tongues more and more, growing in conversation with every event. Like a rushing snowball, the excitement and amount of visitors to our home grew to gargantuan proportions. Crowds of people, all with different stories to reminisce, toured around with an uncanny livelihood. Everyone was back to the place that they really felt was home.
Looking at bottled recollections was the perfect setting stone for this past week’s grand occasion, the true and ritualistic induction of Charlotte Borst as our new College of Idaho commander-in-chief. Once more, faces from all walks of time came together for a last hurrah. Several of the visitors had already left, but those remaining had a spiritual bond to the ground beneath their feet. Trustees, too, had arrived for the grand day first planted last spring.
The ceremony did not disappoint in any real way. Colleagues and great friends of The College and Dr. Borst herself shared amazing words, charges forged with thought and sentiment. Fall had come at last and with it, the most unexpected harvest. Every speaker was a flower to our blossoming future, with pedagogy blooming into something new. The future had finally come and with it, a whole new cycle of stories to be told.
It is only fitting that all of this occur around Founder’s Day and our 125th anniversary as an institution. History rings loudly in the air, and not simply due to Berger’s ranting. The trees along the Margaret-Sinclair Walkway are weaving stories together from building to building, across the quadrangle and to reaches as far as Anderson. The seeds of spring are bursting forward and, as the death knell rings on my undergraduate days, I can only look forward with optimism despite my senior standing.