Inauguration of Eric R. Jensen

Vaughn Hoffman


Vaughn Hoffman

Wesley United Methodist Church


As I contemplated what illustrious thinker I might quote for this final word of benediction, it dawned on me that not only is this Installation Weekend for the University, it is also Opening Day Weekend for Major League Baseball.

So what better time than now to quote that great philosopher—Yogi Berra—who once famously said: “Just remember, when you come to a fork in the road, you should always take it.”

I offer that little gem, President Jensen, as a small example of something you have no doubt already discerned; namely the fact that not all the advice you’re going to get from us will be useful to you.

But more deeply I offer it for its implied wisdom that sometimes in your role here as our President, we know you will come to forks in the road where the way is not clear. We know there will be times when you will shoulder a unique weight on our behalf; and do the hard work of discerning a forward course for a great institution in a challenging and uncertain moment. 

And today we would say to you that when you come to those forks, which are marked with both perplexity and opportunity, take them in the knowledge that we are with you. Take them in the assurance of our trust in your experience, your creativity and your character…and know by our presence here of our confidence in you to help discern the forward path.  

When you come to a fork in the road, always take it in courage and good humor, and know we’ll come along side you, and offer our energy, and our loyalty to combine with yours for the larger vision and purposes Illinois Wesleyan.May the road ahead, whatever forks, bends and turns it may hold, be a path for us all that we find deeply satisfying and well worth taking.

So go in peace now, upheld in the goodness of God. And as we go, may we all heed the advice of whoever it was who said, “Take yourselves lightly, so that like angels you may fly.”