Finding strength in our community
The pandemic has cost us all so much over these past two years. Like young people around the world, Alma students have lost much that for so long we could take for granted: casual interactions with high school friends, “in-person” graduations, the list goes on. I am proud of the effort everyone in the Alma community has made to keep the community safe while ensuring that our students’ experience remains rich and robust, in spite of all.
As we have done so often in our 135-year history at Alma College, we have turned to each other in this ongoing crisis. In this issue of The Tartan, you’ll read stories of students coming to Alma and finding a network of support through their studies, athletics, extracurricular activities, residential spaces and more. Some of these activities have changed with “the new normal” that is emerging — virtual meetings have proven to be an efficient way to meet people where they’re at, for example — but the connections remain.
An Alma College education continues to prepare students to take on the real-world problems of today, and will continue to do so for the generations to come. Students profiled in this issue are working in hospitals as nurses, bringing our downtown area together with art, studying with equipment used by medical professionals and looking into the causes of political polarization. These opportunities are seamlessly woven together on campus like our signature tartan, building the fabric of our campus community.
As we rebound from the pandemic, we are also looking outside the bounds of our campus to develop a sense of community. Building on the themes in our new strategic plan, we recently announced the formation of the Center for College and Community Engagement (3CE), a broad signature initiative focused on public service and engaged learning in mid-Michigan. I was delighted
that the Rev. Dr. Andrew Pomerville ’01 accepted the role of director of the 3CE.
In his new role, Andrew will continue to do much of what he has so successfully done as our college chaplain and director of spiritual life, which is to build communities. Working with our local partners in the city of Alma, Gratiot County and beyond, Andrew will teach students the value of purpose and place, by nurturing their senses of civic responsibility, meaningful service and vocation. In this way — by strengthening the community in which we live, work and play — we will ensure that Alma College remains viable for many years to come.
Alma College was founded right here in order to make the Alma community and mid-Michigan stronger. Our work to deepen our impact on local communities thus extends the vision of our founders. You’ll read a story in this edition of The Tartan about two nursing students — a program that was recently renewed for accreditation by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education — who are working in our local hospital. This edition also features two very different events, “Three Nights at the Opera” and “Victory Day,” in which we welcomed members of the local community into Alma College spaces. We’re looking forward to growing and continuing these partnerships in the years to come.
In this issue, you’ll also read about our long-awaited return to an in-person Homecoming. We happily welcomed thousands of alumni and their families back to Alma for the weekend of Oct. 1-3, for a celebration of our own, special community. It was wonderful to be in the company of so many Scots, especially considering our year apart from one another. Our campus community remains strong and passionate as ever, and we eagerly look forward to next year’s Homecoming.
The challenges for colleges across the land are enormous today. The strength of the Alma College community — alumni, students, faculty, staff and more — will ensure that we will thrive in the decades to come despite the headwinds we face. It is in these relationships that we have with each other, as Scots, that we find that strength, which is enough to make a lasting impact on the world around us.