A lifetime of inquiry builds our knowledge and inspires us to serve others.

By President Denise A. Battles

I am writing this message in early June, as the nation and world continue to face the COVID-19 pandemic and are engaged in a crucial conversation about systemic racism and the need for change. By the time of your reading, the particulars of that environment may have again altered, but there’s little doubt that these public health and societal crises mean that our world has been forever changed. Given that context, penning this opening message in the Scene is challenging, but in some ways it makes the focus of this issue all the more salient and timely.

The theme of this issue, “lifelong learning,” was conceived prior to the pandemic and civil unrest we are experiencing but advances the notion that deliberate learning throughout a life produces a significant educational multiplier effect. The events of the past weeks and months have prompted many to undertake serious introspection, and perhaps that has been your experience. The liberal arts education you received at Geneseo promoted the value of being reflective practitioners, examining our own lives as we embrace the responsibilities we face as members of the world community. By inculcating our cherished values into educational experiences, Geneseo students develop a passion for social responsibility and global citizenship that becomes an integral part of their characters.

A life dedicated to continuous education refines our knowledge of the world around us, builds our values and inspires us to action. The scientists, physicians and myriad other professionals who are urgently responding to the pandemic chose to further their educations and apply that knowledge and commitment to the greater good. Similarly, the many individuals who are speaking out to address racial injustice are choosing to apply principles of social justice to effect badly needed and long-overdue societal change. Their examples reinforce my confidence in the genuine difference that higher education is making in our rapidly changing world.

This issue highlights some of our students and alumni who have responded to the pandemic in creative and heroic ways, even while having to learn and operate in a remote environment. Other stories highlight the day-to-day experiences that contribute to lifelong learning, including what our relationships with pets can teach us. My husband and I were honored to share our own experiences in that regard.

And speaking of lifelong learning, Geneseo is proud to introduce an online continuing education program initiated for both professional and personal enlightenment. Three new courses start in mid-July, ranging from the academic to diversity-focused to technical in nature: “Dante for Now,” “Equity Minded Search Practices” and “CRM Systems and Salesforce.com Training.” See more at geneseo.edu/continuing-education.

You and I were drawn to Geneseo and its dedication to fostering a love of learning that starts on campus but carries through to a lifetime of inquiry, personal development and service to society. That dedication continues and will persist no matter the obstacles we face. I wish nothing but health and happiness to you and yours.