Wolk excited about CSC future

The threat of rain didn’t hinder students, staff, faculty and alumni from gathering into the Fine Arts Center last Thursday to join President David Wolk in welcoming a new school year. Although attendees were grateful to miss the rain, it was still on the lips of many conversations.
“Did we remember to close the windows?” One female student asked another.
“Looks like we’ll miss the storm. Thank god!” said a male upperclassman to a nearby alumnus.
Buzzing with many happy reunions, the Casella Theater filled with familiar faces as the Castleton State College Wind Ensemble provided a relaxing soundtrack. After nearly 15 minutes of greetings and quick catching up, the excited faces were seated as President Wolk approached the podium. Welcomed eagerly by applause, Wolk introduced new staff members, the employee and student of the semester, then took a moment to pay homage to a well known alumnus and Professor at Castleton.
Introduced by alumni board member Jennifer Jones, Professor Emeritus Leonard Johnson was given the 2007 Outstanding Alumni Award. Greeted by a standing ovation, Johnson accepted the award and shared his experiences at Castleton from before and after he began teaching in 1960.
“I almost didn’t come because when they offered, the salary was $200 less than I was getting.so they finally decided some way to raise it so I would have the same salary.So here I am,” Johnson said.
Johnson continued to tell of the few events he has missed on campus, although for good reasons, and how he does not plan to miss many others for years to come.
“Castleton has been a real part of my life; I don’t know what I would have done. I’ve had chances [for other jobs] but always came back to Castleton. I certainly appreciate very much this recognition which I’ve received today.”
After posing for a quick photo with Johnson, Wolk began laying out the plan for a new and improved year. Bathed in warm laughter and cheers, he informed listeners of how renovations, additions and improvements were underway and almost finished.
“Major renovations in South Jeffords are modernizing a facility that had the look and feel of the 1950s. Our obsolete and deteriorating greenhouse has been removed and will be replaced this fall.work on the Jeffords Center remains to be done, but we are striving to reduce the inconvenience as much as possible,” Wolk said.
Also on the agenda was air conditioning in the Calvin Coolidge Library and a continuation of The Green Campus Initiative, now in its third year, which has resulted in many changes on campus to help save the environment. The initiative encourages the purchase of only recycled or recyclable products, switching to energy efficient light bulbs in the residence halls and offering accessible recycling bins throughout the campus.
“Engaging students for success, in college and in life hereafter, goes well beyond these college-wide initiatives.Engaged students are better students and citizens,” Wolk said.
After his speech, Wolk reminded students that he planned to keep Castleton “the small college with a big heart.” This step included limiting enrollment to students whom he believed would be involved members of the college community, which resulted in a smaller matriculation than last year. Wolk then advised everyone to move “onward and upward.

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