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Lee Capristo
Director of Publications
Email: lwcapristo@smcm.edu
Anne Arundel 100

Said on Campus

Quotes from Recent Lectures and Talks at St. Mary's College of Maryland

I was 10 years old when I decided that I would become a writer, and even though I was too young to understand that I was making a "bid" for immortality, that's what I was doing. Writing has the potential to give life to the past, but in order for that to happen, the writing must be read, must be pulled down from the shelf. Even though, now, 30 years past my humble beginnings, I've published a number of books, I'm a realist about my own work. A hundred years from now, I'm not going to be read. My "works" will be, in the words of P. B. Shelley, colossal wrecks. Just as we all die, we must also assume that anything we make--a book, a painting, a garden, a building--will not last, and thus I've come to realize that the only life any of us really has is this life, here, now. So give. Give of yourself to yourself, and give to others. Give up on whatever hurts you or someone else, and give birth to love, to friendship, and make meaning in the ever-present now of your life.

- Jennifer Cognard-Black, professor of English, in the "Last Lecture Series," where favorite professors are asked to share what they would say if, indeed, this was their last lecture, April 17.

Racism is part of the fabric of this nation. It is certainly our original sin....I think those who will succeed in the 21st century will be those who can empathize with others, grasp their experiences, and know how they'd feel in their position.

- Former Maryland lieutenant governor Kathleen Kennedy Townsend speaking April 4 on "Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy: Remembering the Advocate and the Politician 40 Years Later."

I expected that the return of the notebooks would be a private event, but because 200 did not come back, the entire village came out, crying like he had died yesterday - which in a sense he did. They all did.

- Vietnam helicopter gunner, author, and College of Southern Maryland Professor Wayne Karlin, describing the return of a fellow vet's "souvenirs" of a Vietnamese solider the vet had killed.

When the shooting stops, it's not like turning off a faucet... Most of us Viet vets were rejected by vets of the "Greatest Generation": 'We lost the war, we were unworthy'...Sometimes, years later, the ghosts that were bottled up come out. In July 1998, mine came out.

- Sedgewick Tourison Jr., Vietnam era interrogator for the U.S. Army. Tourison and Karlin spoke during a panel discussion April 2 on the "Vietnam War's Legacy." They, and a third speaker, Nguyen Thi Tien, who lost five siblings in the war and is now helping to identify some of the 300,000 Vietnamese war dead whose remains have never been recovered, ask American soldiers to return souvenirs to the Vietnam Veterans of America. So far, 9,000 relics have been returned.

Museums - they're all about dinosaurs and mummies - the dead things. How do you take an institution like that and make it current for the 21st century? What is the connection between our museum collections and our visitors? ...So, we created an ongoing program, "Common Concerns, Different Responses," in which we reach out to the Chicago community and create partnerships between different ethnic groups - Poles, Koreans, Lithuanians, Mexicans, Jews, Cambodians, etc. Everyone has 'common concerns,' like shelter, food, ways of socializing the young, but we each respond differently. Our museum serves as a place where folks come together and look for common ground between neighborhoods.

- Anthropologist Álaka Wali, curator and director of the Center for Cultural Understanding and Change at the Field Museum in Chicago in her talk March 20 on transforming museum practices in Chicago.

If I have a concern about this generation, it is that I sometimes think they believe life can be found on the keyboard or the small screen, that relationships can be defined by text messages. But in fact, as you sit here on the edge of this environmental wonder called the Chesapeake Bay, you know that the damage that has been done can't be reversed by hitting the delete button; that the worldwide scourge of AIDS, especially in Third World countries, will not be eliminated by hitting backspace. It will do us little good to wire the world if we short circuit our souls....The lesson of technology is that it can be a tool, but to move forward requires all of us--individually and collectively--to take our hands off the keyboard, put our boots on the ground, get our hands in the dirt and spend nights in scary places from time to time.

- Former NBC anchor and author Tom Brokaw, speaking at the Benjamin C. Bradlee Distinguished Lecture in Journalism March 28.

Nature loves variety but society hates it. Cherish diversity.

- Milton Diamond, professor of anatomy at the University of Hawaii School of Medicine speaking March 20 on the social confusion caused over the years by individuals born with ambiguous sexual organs.

Skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed form of cancer. When I finish this talk, six more people will have been diagnosed with melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer because it has access to your blood and the lymphatic system. So, when you go on Break, use sun screen.

-National Institute on Aging biologist and St. Mary's alumna Ashani Weeraratna '91 in her talk, "Signaling Mechanisms that Mediate Melanoma Mestastis," March. 5.

You are here today because you've chosen commitment, persistence, and the habit of excellence. These choices ... were influenced by your biology, by your families, by neighborhoods, by schools, by teachers, and by the scholars through the ages who have informed you, and challenged you.

- Psychology Professor Laraine Masters Glidden, speaking to the 25 St. Mary's students of Classes of 2008 and 2009 being initiated into Phi Beta Kappa, April 8.