Thursday, January 1, 2015

The Director's Blurb of Happiness

Welcome to the Director's Blurb of Happiness by Professor Charles Liu - our venerable and enthusiastic director, a gifted professor, and a genuinely nice guy.  We're fortunate to have him at the helm! 

The best job in the world!  That’s what, as director of The Verrazano School, I am so privileged to have.  For me, I can think of no better work to do than to be able to meet,
Professor Liu at the Verrazano Senior Convocation
interact with, teach, and learn from remarkable and inspiring young people - and every single Verrazano student perfectly fits that description.  Hooray for you all - and thank you for the joyous and humbling honor of being your director.

It can sometimes be easy to forget why we professors engage in higher education at all.  Sure, it’s a living - it’s a job.  Why, though, does this job matter?  How does this job affect us - our lives - our society? Luckily, I am reminded all the time by my students.  You are why my job matters!  When I share with you the little bit of understanding that I might have about life, or society, or Earth, or even the whole universe, I add value to what matters most.  Even better, you share with me your energy, enthusiasm, and education - you teach me far more than I teach you for sure!  You give my work meaning, and I am grateful.

The Ice Bucket Challenge
Here’s something, on the other hand, that I will never forget.  The biggest reason the Verrazano School is such a wonderful thing is the Verrazano School staff!  For the past seven years, it has been my great pleasure and privilege to work with Katie Geschwendt, our associate director, and Cynthia Palumbo, our office assistant.  When they started here, the Verrazano School was just a fledgling program - a great idea with an undefined path.  From that starting point, Katie and Cynthia have made the Verrazano School into the fully grown honors program it is today - embodying the highest national standards, and ensuring that you all are able to get, right here, the very best college education anywhere.  Just as important, Katie and Cynthia have infused The Verrazano School with its heart, its spirit, and its soul.  Why is The Verrazano School great today?  It’s because of them!  And as Katie departs from Staten Island to start the next chapter of her life back in her native New England, let’s express to her our deepest gratitude and wish her all the best.  You’ll never be a stranger, Katie!  See you again soon.
Professor Liu, Katie and Cynthia.

As the new year approaches, I have one more thought to share.  Whenever I hear statements claiming that the younger generation compares unfavorably with older generations like my own, I immediately counter them with one excellent, shining example after another - you all.  Because of knowing you, I rest assured that the future is in good hands.  Thank you all so much!  I look forward to our many happy times to come.

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