Another year is about to end, which means it’s time to review the stories from 2017 about Gettysburgians who have inspired us, challenged us to ask questions, filled us with hope, pride, and joy, and truly emphasized what it means to Do Great Work.
Take a look at some of our favorite stories from the year.
Inquisitive thinkers and trailblazers
The Gettysburg community asked questions of themselves and the world, refusing to take established norms and easy answers as the right way to do things. We saw first-hand how this approach to learning is exactly how Philosophy Prof. Steve Gimbel starts all of his classes. We also saw it in our X-SIG program, with the largest cohort of students participating in summer research in STEM to date.
We’ve also celebrated the anniversaries of programs that have helped our students view the world from different perspectives and take action based on their new understandings. The First-Year Walk celebrated 15 years of reflecting on the significance of our place in history and encouraging students to take up the unfinished work, while the Center for Public Service celebrated 25 years of providing programming that challenges students to think critically and act compassionately.
This past year provided opportunities to celebrate and reflect on our continued work to prepare engaged, active, and globally-minded leaders. From the victory of our women’s lacrosse team in the national championship to several key construction projects—including a renovation to the College Union Building that will create centrally-located space for the Garthwait Leadership Center and the Center for Career Development, and an expansion to the Admissions building—we’ve had plenty of triumphs.
Gettysburg Great: The Campaign for Our College continued to build momentum as it enters its final stages. Events were held in Baltimore, Florida, and New Jersey to elevate the progress to date and share stories of how the campaign is already having an impact.
We’ve also celebrated new partnerships and campus programs that align with our mission, from an affiliation with Rutgers and an alliance with the American Talent Initiative to the launch of the Entrepreneurial and Social Innovation Initiative and the expansion of the Eisenhower Institute Fielding Center for Presidential Leadership Study. Additionally, the College received an $800,000 Mellon Grant to continue our efforts of enhancing faculty diversity.
We’ve also taken moments to reflect as we mourned the loss of Gettysburg College President Emeritus Gordon Haaland. The College celebrated his legacy: instilling an institutional confidence that propelled Gettysburg into the top tier national liberal arts college that it is today.
We bore witness to how our transformative experiences on campus give way to lifelong learning and purposeful change, both here and around the world.
Students like Emily Gibbons ’18, Huanjia Zhang ’17, Zoe Yeoh ’18, and David Rampersad ’17 continued to inspire us as they worked relentlessly to exceed the promise of a Gettysburg education and achieve unexpected results.
Likewise, our faculty remained as committed as ever to engaging in research that will make an impact well beyond their classes and their fields. Chemistry Prof. Lucas Thompson, Biology Prof. Pete Fong, and Physics Prof. Kurt Andresen published interdisciplinary research that provides clues for minimizing the impact of pollutants on aquatic life. Biology Prof. Ryan Kerney received a $1.03 million grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation in order to pursue research that takes advantage of new techniques in chemistry and microscopy. History Prof. Magdalena Sánchez published research about the letters of two sixteenth-century political figures that fforces us to rethink the role of women at early modern courts, and Anthropology Prof. Amy Evrard challenged her courses to rethink what they knew about women in the Muslim world.
When we look for examples of the passionate energy required to make a positive impact on the world, we need look no further than our alums. Kenny Knickerbocker ’07 oversees a foundation on the island of Sumba that is elevating the quality of life for the island’s residents. Elizabeth Topolosky ’14 is pursuing a career in international law to prosecute crimes against humanity, and Julius Redd ’07 uses his skill as a lawyer to empower disadvantaged youth and overturn wrongful convictions. Xavier Harding ’12 uses his platform as a journalist to cover science, technology, and gaming from a lens of race and inclusion. David Zapata ’94 founded his own public relations firm that is impacting global economies, and Jill Geiger Beggs ’92 is leading a global change in the insurance industry.