Friday, May 12, 2017

Because "Writer's Block" Sounds WAY Better Than "Procrastination"

Leonid Pasternak, The Passion of Creation (1892)
To my ear, "writer's block" sounds much better than "procrastination."

So yea, I'm suffering from some writer's block this week--just like F. Scott Fitzgerald. Indeed, my "plan" for this summer is to finally produce a draft of my history of religion and sports in America. After a sabbatical last fall, I was able to get a good chunk of it "finished."

But then the spring semester started...

As each unproductive day slipped by, I kept telling myself that I would get to it over summer. I found this comforting at the time. But then finals came and went, and graduation marked the end of another academic year.

Now, finally, I have returned to my basement office to get some stuff done. And yet... I'm having a hell of a time getting started.

To put it bluntly, I am stuck. And no amount of guilt, shame, or anxiety is prodding me forward.


I suppose that I am experiencing some transition sickness. During the semester, days find a way of scheduling themselves. And there is no shortage of noise and activity. Now I'm alone, surrounded by a deafening silence, and facing down a single job. Perhaps, then, this is just a natural response to having more time and quiet than I am accustomed to.

But I also think that I struggle with anticipation. To explain, let me first begin with a little thought experiment, pilfered from The Worrier's Guide To Overcoming Procrastination... 
Step 1: Close your eyes and imagine a lemon.
Step 2: Now, imagine peeling this lemon and separating it into four equal sections.
Step 3: Finally, imagine taking one of those sections and chomping down on it. 
Did you cringe? Did your lips pucker? Did your mouth water? In other words, did you have some sort of physical reaction to the simple idea of biting into a lemon?

If you did, then congratulations! You have an imagination! And your imagination can anticipate a physical response to something that only exists in your head.

For me, this is what it's like thinking about writing. Instead of eagerly embracing the challenge of learning new things and developing my ideas, I anticipate the hours of toil and frustration ahead. And then I choose to avoid it entirely--but eating lemons is just fine, so go ahead and square that circle.


It doesn't help that the task ahead seems so daunting. If I am being honest with you (which I usually am not), I have to admit that the current state of my manuscript is something like....

It's a mess of ideas, words, and sources. When I open a chapter, I can't get past the first sentence. This brings forth all sorts of nagging questions. Can this ever become a coherent story? Even though I have written a book before, did I just get lucky? Was I unusually inspired then? And is this heap of flaming cow poo the real me?

Who knows.

But at this point, I truly do want to finish the damn thing. That's at least a good start. What, then, should I do about it?

I could begin by writing. Just writing. When I am at my most productive, I begin each day with a minimum of one hour of writing. To do this, I turn off my internet, set a timer, and hammer away. Most of what I write is junk. But there are always nuggets. And no matter what happens with the rest of my day, I have those 60 minutes to show for it.

I also think that it will be worth returning this blog to its original purpose. A little over a year ago, I started Between Jest and Earnest with the intention writing frequent updates on my book. I haven't done much of this lately. Over this summer, then, I will Make This Blog Great Again with more frequent book updates.

Worst case is that I admit to my ongoing.... um... writer's block. Yea, that thing. Best case, it helps keep me accountable--because accountability is a beautiful thing.

Friday, May 5, 2017

On Taking Downtime, and Downtime Taking Me

There was a moment in my collegiate running career when things were going well--by my standards at least.

It was track season and I had collected a few personal records, while also being more competitive in these races than I thought I could be. As an added bonus, my body was holding together even though I was running a bunch of high-intensity miles every week. It seemed that the hard work was paying off.

At some point in mid-season, I met with my coach intending to develop a plan to take the "next step." I was envisioning a surplus of more. More miles; more intervals; more speed. All I wanted the coach to do was to nod in agreement, to see my brilliance.

That, of course, didn't happen.

Instead, he prescribed less. Three days of downtime, he insisted, and then a gradual buildup to the end of the season. He assured me that resting at a high point would give me the best chance to finish strong.

I was skeptical, but he was right. Once I resumed my routine, I ended up having what was my best outdoor season.

Downtime. It's something that every runner knows they need. But doing it consistently and intentionally is a trick. Runners, after all, like to run. Hitting the pause button makes no sense. Why wouldn't we want to do this every day, with our fullest efforts?

Alas, constant stress without deliberate recovery is a sure path to destruction. Injury, burnout, and fatigue are the ways that our bodies force us to rest. I am still struggling to be mindful of this reality. I remain the runner who wants to press on when things are going well, rather than stepping back, reflecting, and seeing the bigger picture.

As with most things, I find a parallel with this lesson from running and my professional life.

Earlier this week, I finished grading finals, thus marking the glorious end to my semester. My intention was to dive deeply into my writing and research. I determined that I needed to get a good start on my summer projects.

But then, life intervened and I got sick with a stomach bug. Rest was forced upon me. Of course, it is entirely reasonable to conclude that my illness was a matter of chance. It just happened. 

But still...

All of this stands as a reminder that when we don't take some much-needed downtime, the downtime will take us--whether we like it or not.
Happy trails, friends.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Satire for the End of the Semester

My wife recently sent around an email to her colleagues that was something of an Irish blessing for teachers during finals.

It went something like....
May all of your essays grade themselves,
May every student receive their final grades with acceptance and appreciation,
And may all of your assessments close every loop.
Indeed, satire seems most fitting for this time of year, as we all collapse across the finish line and hobble onward to graduation and summer break.

To this end, here are some of my favorite satirical bits for this special time of year...

"I Would Rather Do Anything Else Than Grade Your Final Papers," McSweeney’s
Dear Students Who Have Just Completed My Class, 
I would rather do anything else than grade your Final Papers. 
I would rather base jump off of the parking garage next to the student activity center or eat that entire sketchy tray of taco meat leftover from last week’s student achievement luncheon that’s sitting in the department refrigerator or walk all the way from my house to the airport on my hands than grade your Final Papers. 
I would rather have a sustained conversation with my grandfather about politics and government supported healthcare and what’s wrong with the system today and why he doesn’t believe in homeowner’s insurance because it’s all a scam than grade your Final Papers. Rather than grade your Final Papers, I would stand in the aisle at Lowe’s and listen patiently to All the Men mansplain the process of buying lumber and how essential it is to sight down the board before you buy it to ensure that it’s not bowed or cupped or crook because if you buy lumber with defects like that you’re just wasting your money even as I am standing there, sighting down a 2×4 the way my father taught me 15 years ago...
"Professor Deeply Hurt by Student's Evaluation," The Onion
Leon Rothberg, Ph.D., a 58-year-old professor of English Literature at Ohio State University, was shocked and saddened Monday after receiving a sub-par mid-semester evaluation from freshman student Chad Berner. The circles labeled 4 and 5 on the Scan-Tron form were predominantly filled in, placing Rothberg’s teaching skill in the "below average" to "poor" range.... 
The poor rating has left Rothberg, a Rhodes Scholar, distraught and doubting his ability to teach effectively at the university level.
"Maybe I’m just no good at this job," said Rothberg, recipient of the 1993 Jean-Foucault Lacan award from the University of Chicago for his paper on public/private feminist deconstructive discourse in the early narratives of Catherine of Siena. "Chad’s right. I am totally boring." ... 
"Teary-Eyed Student Loan Officers Proudly Watch As $200,000 Asset Graduates From College," The Onion
Unable to contain their emotion when they heard the account name called aloud by the college provost, a group of teary-eyed Sallie Mae student loan officers proudly looked on Monday as their $200,000 balance sheet asset graduated from Emory University, witnesses confirmed. “It’s been absolutely amazing to watch our revenue stream grow right before our eyes,” said smiling collections officer Robin Black, explaining that, looking at the impressive figure now, she could hardly believe their future series of principal and interest payments was only $50,000 just four years ago. “This is such a big milestone, but to be honest, it’s really just the beginning. We’re all looking forward to seeing how our beloved asset progresses now that it’s going out into the real world. Who knows where it will be 15 years from now?” The student loan officers went on to express their hope that they’d one day be able to see their source of profit go to law school. ...
"Graduating Seniors Somber After Being Financially Exploited On Field For Last Time" The Onion
Following Ohio State’s 42-20 victory over Oregon in Monday’s inaugural College Football Playoff National Championship, graduating seniors from both teams were admittedly somber after being financially exploited on the field for the last time in their collegiate careers. “I don’t think it really sunk in until after the game ended, but it’s hard knowing this was the last time I’ll ever go out there and be completely taken advantage of by an incredibly wealthy institution earning millions upon millions of dollars whenever I play,” said senior Oregon center Hroniss Grasu, who was visibly saddened when describing his final appearance as a pawn used to make enormous profits for his coaches, school officials, and the NCAA without earning a single cent in return. “You never think the day will come when you won’t be able to sacrifice your body on Saturdays for no pay whatsoever while your school generates incredible amounts of money off your back. I’m just glad I really cherished it while it lasted.” Grasu added, however, that he is excited to play in the NFL next season, where his contract can be immediately voided as soon as he suffers a career-threatening injury. ...

"9 Tips To Help You Power Through Finals Week," Clickhole
1. Learn a lot about metal: Metal is one of the most common substances on earth, so it’s bound to play a role in your finals week exams. Knowing everything there is to know about metal can give you the few extra points you need to beat the curve! 
2. Use mnemonic devices to remember complex concepts: Here are a few common ones to get you started: LDSTRH6K2U, LINCOLNWASAPRESIDENT, and COLDWAR&&&CSLEWIS. Good luck! 
3. Reward yourself after each final with a thousand dollars in cash: You’ve been working hard, so why not give yourself a little something to keep you going? A thousand dollars should do the trick. 
4. Only listen to the violin part of the Who’s “Baba O’Riley” while studying: Scientists have proven that students who listen to the violin portion of “Baba O’Riley” score at least 15 percent higher than the average student. ...
"This Woman Had Such A Clever Phrase Written On Her Graduation Cap, She Still Wears It Every Day 5 Years Later," Clickhole 
With over 9,000 students graduating each year at Michigan State University, it’s easy to get lost in the crowd. So when Amy Meyers graduated back in 2011, she made a spur-of-the-moment decision to stand out in the crowd by writing a clever phrase on her graduation cap. Then something awesome happened: Her witty cap got such a good response from friends and family that, five years later, Amy still wears it every day. Now that’s graduation done right! 
Ask anyone at the biotech company where Amy, now 27, works as a data analyst, and they’ll tell you that Amy’s “Will Work For Ramen” mortarboard is a fixture in meetings, the break room, and at all company functions. Amy and the clever cap may be inseparable now, but back in 2011, it all started as a simple offhand comment to friends. 
“It was the day before graduation, and one of my friends asked me how the post-graduation job search was coming,” explained Amy. “I said ‘I will work for Ramen,’ and it got a laugh, so I thought maybe it would be fun to put it on my graduation cap.” ...

"Average College Thesis Just 2,000 Words Of Bullshit Shy Of Word Count," Waterford Whispers
THE Nation’s thesis students are currently on average just 2,000 words of bullshit shy of their word count total, despite some key deadlines having already passed.
It is believed many final year students have been carefully researching their chosen topics, but are dangerously low on the number of filler words and phrases full of bullshit which are required to pad out their lengthy tomes. 
"I’ve lost track of the amount of times I’ve written ‘it is my contention’ and I’m still a good 3,000 words off my target," explained UCD student Aaron Higgins, whose thesis entitled ‘The Longer The Title The Smarter I’m Probably Going To Appear, Well Fingers Crossed’ is severely lacking in the bullshit department. ...
"99-Year-Old College Graduate Moves Back in With Parents," The Beaverton 
Lorraine Fuller, a 99-year-old woman who just graduated college plans to move her things into her parent’s basement immediately. 
“Living with mom and dad is kind of my only option right now,” said the recent grad. “No way I can afford to pay rent and my student loans. Plus I still don’t know how to do my own laundry.” 
Like many recent graduates Lorraine also has plans to travel the world.  “I figured I would backpack for a few months. At the very least I want to see Paris before I get sucked into the rat race.” 
Lorraine, who began her studies as an undeclared student in the mid 1930’s, admitted that she didn’t take her education seriously until after the Korean War. ...
 "27M Student Essays Are Gonna Be Late," Satirewire 
Internet site Wikipedia has shut down for 24 hours in a move that may cause Congress to reconsider proposed anti-piracy legislation and will cause at least 27 million student essays to be turned in a day late. Maybe two. 
On its otherwise unavailable pages, the information supersite said proposed bills in the U.S. House and Senate threaten Internet freedom, but University of Washington freshman Josh Baldino said the bigger threat is to his History 111 paper on the Treaty of Ghent. 
“It was assigned like a month ago and was due Wednesday, so I was gonna research and write it just before class but I couldn’t because Wikipedia was off,” explained Baldino. “So either I skip class or say the Treaty of Ghent never happened, which maybe is true, I don’t know because Wikipedia can’t tell me.” 
 Finally, a helpful Venn diagram on... Finals Week v. a Zombie Apocalypse

Happy grading, friends.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

The Obligatory "What Did I Learn From This Lenten Social Media Fast" Post Because I Need To Assess Things And Close Loops

You know the story... I gave up social media for Lent blah, blah, blah.

So now I have this professory impulse to ask myself, "What did I learn?" You know... "assessment," "closing the loop," and all that stuff.

[throws up in his mouth a little bit]

The problem is that I stink at this. So how about I just pilfer from my friend Doug Thompson, who as I have noted before joined me on this Lenten social media fast.

Last week, Doug summarized his own thoughts on this exercise, concluding, "I learned on this side of the lenten journey that being present to people in literal and virtual form matters to me." As he explains it, ditching Facebook and Twitter certainly cleared out some clutter. But there can always be new ways to bring clutter into one's life, pulling us away from strengthening our relationships.

Indeed, I'm pretty good at cluttering up uncluttered spaces.

As I found during Lent, the Internet has no shortage of rabbit holes to explore outside of the world of social media. Goodbye new chunks of time for myself! Hello DuffelBlog!

The trick, then, isn't just to give something up. Yes, it was a liberating act to deactivate Facebook and Twitter. And yes, the silence was golden at first. But the novelty wore off as the weeks passed. Once that happened, it became apparent to me that social media is a tool. Accordingly, there are times when I have used it well. And there are times when I have not.

Let's return to Doug Thompson once more.

I  have only met Doug a handful of times. But all during Lent, I found myself conversing with Doug over text and email about things that I would only share with my closest of friends. This is a relationship that started with social media and has continued through all sorts of other virtual platforms. No doubt, knowing Doug like this has brought value into my life.

On the other hand, there are all of those times when social media overtakes my senses, colonizing my attention. Scroll, scroll, scroll. Mindlessness at its best.

Now that I am back to the noisy room that is social media, I am finding it difficult not to fall back into old habits. When I am facing a challenge or unsavory task, it's SOOO tempting to go trolling for likes and retweets. It's a tendency that is entirely unproductive and lacking intention.

What's the solution?

Moderation and self-restraint. I know this already and so does everyone else. But the experience of stepping back from social media created a space for me to see this more clearly.

Now actually doing something about it, well... maybe I just need to "sin boldly" when it comes to my virtual bad habits. 

Monday, April 17, 2017

A Rundown Of Everything You Missed (And Yes, This WILL Change Your Life)

No, this is not an image of a bear eating poo.

If you visited this blog during Lent, you could actually hear the crickets chirping.

Indeed, unplugging from social media might have helped my mental wellbeing. But my pageviews plummeted from their already modest numbers. 

So now that I am back to Facebookistan, I thought that I would give a rundown of my posts over the past few weeks. This probably violates the spirit of my exercise in electronic abstinence. But I have to resume my bad habits some time. Might as well start now, and build up for Lent '18....

"In Shape, Out of Shape, and Ursine Urban Legends"
"Shape" is a ubiquitous word in the runner's lexicon.  
In general, it's used to signal a state of fitness in the past, present, or future.   
     "When I was in college, I was in great shape."
     "I wish I was in better shape right now."
     "I just started a new training program. I should be in good shape soon." 
Indeed, "in shape" and "out of shape" are the extreme ends of the runner's fitness continuum. Our position on this line is always changing, and entirely relative. [Continue]
"Ever Heard of the Clericus Cup? Me Neither... Until Now"
The Clericus Cup. It's a soccer tournament played at the Vatican. Most of the participants are seminarians, so it's known as the "clerical equivalent of soccer's World Cup."  
Yea, I've never heard of it either. 
That is, until my friend Janelle Peters submitted an article about the tournament for the edited volume that I am working on, Gods, Games, and Globalization 
She also recently published a very interesting piece on the cup over at Paste. [Continue]
"Football Kisses?"
Tom Herman coached football at Houston before he moved on to take over the Texas program. Back in the fall, with his star clearly on the rise, a news story grabbed my attention.  
"Tom Herman kisses all his players before Houston games" 
Really? I thought that there had to be a catch. Something other than a coach's lips making contact with his players heads, necks, and cheeks.  
No catch. Just kisses. [Continue]
"That Moment When The Philadelphia Love Run Lived Up To Its Name"
Running creates family bonds. The struggle to finish connects people from all different ages, abilities, and backgrounds. On the course, sometimes things go well and we can celebrate together. Other times stuff goes sideways. And when that happens, we are comforted by the fact that we are not alone. [Continue]
 "Putting a Price Tag On Service To The University?"
FEVER: A Forum Engaging Values, Education, and Responsibility is a blog run by my friends at the Society for Values in Higher Education.  
Last month, they featured a lively exchange by my SFU colleagues Bill Strosnider and Denise Damico on community engagement and the liberal arts. You can read their contributions here and here.  
This month, I wrote a piece that looks at how we value--and don't value--a professor's service to the university. [Continue]
 "Limbic Politics, Then and Now"
It all started with a news story about violent protests at a university after a cancelled talk. 
"Who is this speaker?" I wondered. So I Googled the name and discovered that he is a celebrity among the "alt-right" crowd. As a self-described "provocateur," he delights in ridiculing the norms and standards of what he considers to be liberal America. 
It's a strategy that has drawn him widespread attention, but has also led to his downfall. He recently resigned from Breitbart News after crossing a line that no one around him would dare to tolerate. 
I watched a few videos of this fast-talking political pot-stirrer. I resolved quickly that we are mistaken if we try to find some logical consistency in his positions. He transgresses for the sake of transgression. He trades in outrage. He prods, he pokes, and he laughs a dehumanizing laugh.  
In other words, this is limbic politics. [Continue]
 "Sin Boldly! Or Bold-ishly..."
"Sin boldly, but believe and rejoice in Christ more boldly still," proclaimed Martin Luther. 
It's one of those phrases that I have probably seen before, but is only now sticking with me. I came across this when re-reading Dietrich Bonhoeffer's The Cost of Discipleship 
For Bonhoeffer, Luther was certainly not saying anything like, "Go forth and sin, because nothing that you do or don't do will secure your salvation." Nope. There's more of a challenge embedded in this injunction. It's about plainly and honestly acknowledging our shortcomings, and trusting in the power of forgiveness. [Continue]
"'All people are strange in different ways'... Rest in Peace, Ed Whitlock"
My heart sunk when I learned that Ed Whitlock had died. If you are unfamiliar with this remarkable athlete, read his obituary over at Runner's World. It begins... 
Ed Whitlock, the Canadian runner who rewrote the 70+ record books and forever altered conceptions of human endurance performance in older age, died on Monday in Toronto, not far from his home in Milton, Ontario. . . .  Just last October, at 85, he ran 3:56:33 at the Toronto Marathon, becoming the first in his age group to break 4:00 and taking 28 minutes off the previous 85+ record.
Indeed, that marathon he ran last October put Whitlock back into the headlines. At around that same time, I drew upon Whitlock's life and example to organize an address that I gave to a group of cross country runners. 
Here, then, are my 3 "Whitlockian Wisdoms" [Continue]
"A Big Day for SFU Men's Basketball!"
This past Saturday, the Red Flash won a thrilling playoff game. And then they showed up on ESPN. Check out "the shot" if you haven't seen it already (it's at the 2:24 mark). 
Now it's on to the NEC championship game against Mount Saint Mary's. I'm traveling to Emmitsburg tonight to watch. If SFU wins, they head to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1991. So it's been a while. 
But beating Mount Saint Mary's will be no small task. The Flash are 0-2 against the Mount this year. Still, we have some serious momentum headed into this game and a surprisingly good record on the road. [Continue]
 "Spring Break Means.... Making Tofu?"
Guess what I did? I made tofu. Really. [Continue]
 "On Quieting the Chatter"
It's day one of my social media fast. 
I signed off last night, not before learning that my friend Doug Thompson will cross the Tiber and join me in this Lenten exercise. In his words, Doug hopes that the time away will help him to "figure out my writing practice and clear my head of the chatter." 
The chatter. Yes, the chatter. [Continue]

Thursday, April 13, 2017

In Shape, Out of Shape, and Ursine Urban Legends

"Shape" is a ubiquitous word in the runner's lexicon.

In general, it's used to signal a state of fitness in the past, present, or future.
"When I was in college, I was in great shape."
"I wish I was in better shape right now."
"I just started a new training program. I should be in good shape soon." 
Indeed, "in shape" and "out of shape" are the extreme ends of the runner's fitness continuum. Our position on this line is always changing, and entirely relative. For example, last year at this time, I had enjoyed the fruits of an extended period of injury-free running. I competed in two track miles, running the second at a time faster than my high school PR. I also ran my fastest time for a 5k since I turned 40.  

Back then, I would have insisted that I was in "OK shape." I thought that my times were a good start, but I had more work to do. Now, however, I look back and marvel at the "shape" I was in. After struggling with an injury in the fall and winter, I witnessed my "shape" decline deeper and deeper. Since returning to running, each attempt to quicken my stride has fallen short of last year's accomplishments.  

After thinking about how and why we use this word, I decided to consult Dr. Google to see if I could figure out its origin. After five solid minutes of research, I didn't turn up much in the way of answers. But I did unearth this little nugget from The Phrase finder website for "lick into shape," which, "sprang from the belief held in mediaeval Europe that bear cubs were born shapeless and had to be made into ursine form by their mother's licking." 

Hence, this is not an image of a bear eating a random pile of poo... 

Rather, this is a mother bear "shaping" her offspring--or at least that's how Pliny the Elder and others imagined it. 

It is reasonable to assume that our fitness-related usage of "in shape"/"out of shape" connects back to this ursine urban legend. It is, after all, a metaphor for form coming from formlessness, order emerging from chaos. Running when you are "out of shape" is clumsy, awkward, and unfamiliar. As we improve, the movements and motions of the run become more familiar, more of a part of our ordinary flow.   

To be "out of shape," then, is to be in a state of anticipation, aspiring to be "in shape." No bear licks needed to get there. Just time, effort, good fortune, and some reliable folks to run with.  

Happy trails, friends.  

Monday, April 10, 2017

Ever Heard of the Clericus Cup? Me Neither... Until Now

The Clericus Cup. It's a soccer tournament played at the Vatican. Most of the participants are seminarians, so it's known as the "clerical equivalent of soccer's World Cup." 

Yea, I've never heard of it either.

That is, until my friend Janelle Peters submitted an article about the tournament for the edited volume that I am working on, Gods, Games, and Globalization. 

She also recently published a very interesting piece on the cup over at Paste. An excerpt...
As a tournament that priests and seminarians refer to as their World Cup, the Clericus Cup remains firmly rooted in the Vatican City and Rome. The hundreds of seminarians who participate each year come from dozens of countries, but there are no 'away' games—all the seminarians have a home in Rome. And it's not just any home, but one with student-priests-gone-wild, chanting songs and wearing flags and country-specific costumes (Captain America, the Super Mario Brothers, et al.). There are even Star Wars-themed homage videos in which aspiring goalkeeper priests get kidnapped by the LA Galaxy, much to the chagrin of their Clericus Cup teams. (Thankfully, the LA Galaxy has never actually attempted to poach any player while he was competing for the Cup's trophy of a hat-wearing soccer ball with cleats.) 
The tradition of having soccer matches among the pontifical colleges in Rome is much older than the Clericus Cup, of course. Fr. Jim Mulligan started an eight-team tournament called the Rome Cup in 2003, when he was a seminarian at Pontifical Beda College. Among other teams, the North American Martyrs (unsurprisingly) have a history of trials and tribulations. None of that history, however, has impacted their successive Clericus Cup wins. Even the Martyrs have risen to soccer glory, dominating the 2012 and 2013 years. 
Though not every player in the Cup is a priest, the hope is that the seminarians and priests on the teams will direct the play toward more lofty spiritual goals, and to help the personal growth of the friars in cleats. Previously, it was also partly to help restore decency to the game after the Calciopoli scandals and to convince world soccer organizations such as FIFA to adopt the so-called “sin cards.” For the Clericus Cup, these blue cards put a player in the “sin bin” for five minutes.
You can read the entire article here. It's a terrific story of a religious institution intersecting with an athletic institution that both have a rich history and global reach.