Hello, my name is Chris Duncan and I am the new Provost at Wittenberg University. It is my distinct honor and pleasure to welcome each and every one of the members of the Wittenberg family to the beginning of our 167th academic year! Although I have only been on campus for about a month, I can already tell that this is a vibrant and exciting university. From our outstanding students, to our award winning professors, to our nationally and internationally recognized scholars, to our decorated athletic teams, to our commitment to serving the community and the world, the faculty, staff and students of Wittenberg demonstrate our understanding that being great begins with being good.
“Having light we pass it on” is not merely Wittenberg’s motto, it is a way of life. As a Lutheran institution, we pride ourselves on listening for both the institutional and individual call of vocation. Best described as that place “where your great love meets the world’s great need,” vocation beckons us to self-discovery in the context of a community of fellow learners and seekers directed at our best toward loving service to the world and personal fulfillment.
Guided by a shared commitment to the common good, the members of the Wittenberg community seek truth and knowledge in all its forms and expressions through the foundation and framework of a liberal arts education. Such an education was once reserved for only the most privileged members of the human family. It was intended to give those students the necessary critical and creative skills to lead in a diverse, complex, mysterious, contentious and, all too often, broken world.
In a historical period that is increasingly democratic in form, the knowledge, skills and habits provided by the liberal arts in all their varied disciplines, from mathematics and the sciences to the social sciences, the humanities as well as the creative and performing arts, are more essential than ever. Indeed, it is precisely those who are liberally educated, whatever their eventual profession or craft might be, that should give us the greatest hope for future of the human community in all its rich and stunning variety. As our mission statement says, “Wittenberg challenges students to become responsible global citizens, to discover their callings, and to lead personal, professional, and civic lives of creativity, service, compassion, and integrity.” Put another way, “with great power comes great responsibility.”
Helen Keller once said that “security is mostly superstition. . . . life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.” That sounds about right to me. Welcome to what I hope will be another chapter in a daring adventure that began one hundred and sixty-seven years ago. I look forward to watching each and every one of you write your own part of our collective story and stand ready to do whatever I am able to help you on your quests. Thank you all for the work you have done and will do. It is both a blessing and a joy to be with you. May God’s grace and love shine on us all.
In Peace and Friendship,
Chris Duncan, Ph.D.
Provost and Professor