Happy Holidays from the President
Happy holidays! It was wonderful seeing so many colleagues at our annual holiday party in the Simon Center Great Room last week. Between the very creative costumes, sweaters, trivia game, good food and drink, office decoration prizes, and what looked like plenty of smiles and good cheer to go around, our community had a very nice gathering to celebrate the holiday season. Well represented were traditions associated with Christmas, Hannukah, and Kwanzaa. I also learned of new traditions like those associated with a holiday unicorn and one particularly inspired holiday sweater featuring a running fireplace. That was something. The whole event was great fun and something we should do on a regular basis. More on that later.
In the coming days many of us will gather with friends and family to celebrate holidays both secular and religious. We will welcome a New Year with all the promise that it brings. I hope each and every one of you has a wonderful, safe, rejuvenating, and fun break. And for the more than fifteen departments at NEC that will be working between Christmas and New Year’s Day – well, thank you all. Your commitment is laudable and necessary to the success of the institution. I know I speak for us all when I say, we appreciate you.
Yesterday, on the Winter Solstice, we marked the shortest day of the year. It has been a little darker a little later each morning and for many of us the commute home is undertaken after the sun has set. If you are like me, you look forward to longer days that come with warmer weather. But, for now, amid the darkness, I find my eyes drawn towards the lights around us. I think of our holiday traditions that feature lights as important symbols during the winter darkness. Think of the candles associated with Kwanzaa, or the lighting of the Menorah during Hannukah, and certainly those twinkling colored lights on so many Christmas trees. Whatever your tradition, secular or religious, light is a focus during the dark winter months.
Our work in higher education also has a symbolic focus on light. You will recall that on our college seal is the lamp of knowledge. The small flame at the tip of the oil lamp represents a shining of light into the darkness. That is the work we are called to do at NEC. And while the metaphor with holiday lights is apropos this time of year, I am reminded that our work in providing a quality education to our students takes place throughout the year, face-to-face, online, in New Hampshire, the broader United States, and throughout the world. It is important work. It is necessary work. And I count myself incredibly fortunate and most honored to work with each and every one of you in spreading the light of education.
So, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, Joyful Kwanzaa, and a wonderful New Year!
With warmest seasons’ greetings,
Dr. Wayne F. Lesperance, Jr