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From the Editor's Desk

Keene State has never quite fit the "ivory tower" image of a college. Its foundations are too practical, its goals too pragmatic. From its beginnings as a normal school and then as a teachers college, the emphasis was not on pure knowledge, but on knowledge applied.

That's the heart of the message in "Enter to learn, go forth to serve." When social reformer Margaret Sanger used the phrase in a speech only a few years after the founding of the school, she was talking to women who would graduate from Keene Normal School to preside over one-room schoolhouses in rural New Hampshire. What a job that must have been! We study photographs of those early graduating classes – the young women neatly coiffed, primly dressed, and raring to go – and we know that what they needed most was resilience, common sense, a sturdy constitution, and the ability to take the classroom into the world.

Service has been a core value of Keene State ever since, and the mission is as important now as it was in 1909. As the stories in this issue of Keene State Today came together, we realized that many of them shared the idea of going forth into the world. We have reports from teams of Keene State students who spent spring break on service trips in the South, painting, raking, teaching, building, and even meeting with local school administrators, all giving willingly of their time and talent. The KSC Global Village team took the idea of service to the Dominican Republic in January, where they hauled cement blocks, dug ditches, did origami with children, and generally made us all proud. Look at all the faces in those photographs and you see the image of Keene State in the world.

In "Letter from India," Dr. Mark Long, professor of English and American Studies, shares his sabbatical experience – a family sojourn in India that is as transformative for the people they meet as it is for the Long family. And sometimes the world comes to Keene State, as it did for writer Amy Proctor the day actor Martin Landau flew in from the West Coast to help his great-nephew, a KSC film student, complete his senior project.

Our Centennial year is a great time to appreciate not only the wonderful accomplishments and progress that have happened on our campus, but also the ways in which Keene State has gone out into the world. Community service is instilled in Keene State students from their first day on campus. We are still counting up the hours for the 2007-08 academic year, but can report that in 2006-07, KSC students provided more than 450,000 hours of credited and voluntary service in the Keene community and the wide world beyond. (The credited hours, part of a formal program called academic service learning, refer to service projects directly tied to classroom work.) The monetary value of all of the credited and voluntary service was estimated at $8.1 million. The human value – to the students and to those they serve – is incalculable.

Please enjoy this issue of your alumni magazine. We'd love to hear from you – and now you can comment online on any of the features in this magazine by going to the "comments" button at the end of each story. That's Perhaps you have your own "go forth to serve" story to share!

Susan Peery,

Class of 1912 photo
Class of 1912
Global Village photo
Global Village
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Alternative Spring Break photo
Alternative Spring Break
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Centennial photo
Centennial Memories
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Letter from India photo
Letter from India
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Owl Notebook photo
Owl Notebook
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