President Wilson Opens Academic Year with President's Convocation
Illinois Wesleyan President Richard F. Wilson, right, introduced author and historian
David Halberstam at the annual President's Convocation on September 8, 2004.
BLOOMINGTON, Ill. — Presiding at his first President's Convocation on September 8,
2004, Illinois Wesleyan President Richard F. Wilson said that he hopes all members
of the University community resist the temptation to take their experience at Illinois
Wesleyan for granted.
Wilson welcomed a capacity crowd of about 550 members of the community to Westbrook
Auditorium where he introduced author and historian David Halberstam as the featured
speaker for the event.
In his introductory remarks, Wilson noted that the opening of an academic year at
Illinois Wesleyan may have become old hat for some. But for him, this will be a year
"The 'newness may wear off," he said. "But I hope never to take this special place
for granted. And I hope you won’t.
"We are privileged to be here, all of us, and I believe it is important to keep that
in mind," he added. "We have a wonderful opportunity to join together as a community
of scholars and artists on this beautiful campus. We have an opportunity to ask important
questions., to wrestle with big ideas, to work alongside talented colleagues, and
to have the satisfaction that comes from helping to shape young minds —to lead them
to ask important questions to wrestle with big ideas.
Wilson noted that he has been been telling students in formal and informal occasions
that they should cherish their four years at the University. "But I believe we should
all cherish the opportunity we have here," he said "We should all cherish this community
"This morning we take a moment to celebrate this moment of our University’s annual
rebirth," Wilson said. "As we do, let us recognize the generations of men and women
who have preceded us here. This University is entering its 155th year. This tradition
of convening — or reconvening — for a formal welcome stretches back more than 80 years.
It is more than a mere formality. It is an opportunity to come together in anticipation
of what lies ahead. May the 'newness' never wear off. Welcome to you all."