by Dr. Corey Cook
On Thursday, August 26, Doctor Corey Cook, the Interim Provost of Saint Mary’s College, addressed the incoming students and their families at a welcome prayer service. He began by commenting on a passage from Christian Brothers’ The Brothers of the Christian Schools in the World Today: A Declaration (Rome: 1967). The passage and Dr. Cook’s reflection are offered below.
“[Lasallian Education] awakens in students a serious attitude toward life and the conviction of the greatness of human destiny; it makes it possible for them, with intellectual honesty and responsibility, to exercise the autonomy of personal thought; it helps them use their libertyto overcome their own prejudices, preconceived ideas and social pressures, as well as the pressures that come from disintegration within the human person; it disposes them to use their intelligence and their training in the service of their neighbors; it opens them to others; it teaches them how to listen and to try to understand, to trust, and to love; it instills in them a sense of trustworthiness, kinship, and justice; it opens them to the world and to life, to wonder and beauty of nature, to the diversity and richness of art, to the conquests of science and technology, to a deep thought and reflection, to the varieties of civilizations, to the joys of friendship and of giving themselves to others” (Declaration, VI, 41).
I love this reading because it captures the essence of Lasallian Education. As you embark on what we think will be a transformative experience at Saint Mary’s College, this is what inspires me as a teacher and speaks to what makes Saint Mary’s College such a special institution. What should you expect from us?
You should expect a community of teacher scholars for whom teaching is our vocation; who chose to be here, with and in this community; who are inspired by this educational tradition; who can’t wait to meet you; who are committed to learning from and with you; and who aspire to create brave inclusive spaces where diverse voices are invited and amplified and heard and that encourage common purpose, collaboration, and controversy with civility.
You should expect a community committed to humanistic education – an education that is student-centered, so you are encouraged and empowered to take control over, and co-design your education so that you can become the best version of yourself and so that you are prepared for your future beyond this beautiful campus.
Socrates, Library Corridor of the Vatican Museums
In the Lasallian tradition, everyone here, on this campus, not just your faculty, are educators. This is a community of Lasallian educators who care about you as a whole person. Who see you, who respect your uniqueness and individual dignity. Who are committed to meeting you where you are. Because of this, you will find extraordinary opportunities at Saint Mary’s College.
Know, also, that equal to what you can expect from us, there is a great deal that we expect from you. Bring your authentic self. Be brave. Be open to new ideas and new experiences. Be willing to explore, both inside and outside of the classroom. Recognize that you are a co-creator of your Saint Mary’s experience. That both teaching and learning are practices of humanization and collaboration and not competition. And embrace that upon arriving on our campus you too are an educator.
The world needs you. Enter to learn. Leave to serve.
Brother Charles; St. Cassian’s Centre, Kintbury, Berkshire, England (https://www.thekintburyexperience.com/about-us.html)