I went to a Holiday Brunch at my alma mater on Sunday to meet the new President of McDaniel College, Roger Casey. The college was named Western Maryland College when I attended, because of the Western Maryland Railroad’s importance in its early development. There always had been a lot of confusion about its location. It is not in the mountains of Western Maryland, but only nestled in the rolling hills of Carroll County.
McDaniel College maintains the same atmosphere it did when I attended. There are plenty of new buildings and apartments, but most were designed to blend in with the architectural styles. A stone bench where I spent time studying and contemplating is still there, as is the gazebo just up the hill. Except for being much older than the current students and taking longer to walk around the campus, I still feel like I belong. There is still a sense of community.
Jim Lightner, 1959, who wrote the book Fearless and Bold, about the college’s past, introduced President Casey, who will lead McDaniel into the future.
President Casey spoke briefly on that future. McDaniel College is going to go global, he said. There already is a campus in Budapest, Hungary, as well as several student exchange and study-abroad opportunities. The use of more technology is also in the President’s plans. I currently am taking a graduate level creative writing course online; finding it challenging and enjoyable. Web-based classes can offer unlimited opportunities.
He shared “McSwagger” with us and he plans on sharing his pride in McDaniel College with others. A swagger shows pride and McDaniel alumni have plenty of that, he said. Each attendee of the brunch received an “I am McDaniel” pin.
Urbandictionary.com defines swagger as “How one presents him or her self to the world. Swagger is shown from how the person handles a situation. It can also be shown in a person’s walk.”
The college opened its doors in September of 1867, with 37 men and women enrolled. It was the first coeducational college south of the Mason-Dixon Line and one of the first in the nation. I will discuss more about the college’s accomplishments in a future blog.
President Casey mentioned that many of today’s students will change careers (careers, not just jobs) five times in their lifetime. They need a good solid liberal arts education to prepare them for this kind of change. I only had two major career changes (four, if you count motherhood and caregiver). I held various positions in Human Resources/Personnel and in the field of writing. Iw as a journalist for both weekly and daily newspapers, a freelance writer, press officer and public affairs officer. I enjoyed helping both employees and the business while in Human Resources, but I love writing.
Now, as a caregiver for my mother, I am using this time to improve my writing skills and to try different genres. I credit my ability to write about a wide variety of subjects to my education at McDaniel College. I not only learned what I needed to learn at college, but I developed a love for learning that continues today. I would highly recommend McDaniel College and a liberal arts education. In an earlier interview, President Casey said, “The message is that McDaniel makes a difference. McDaniel matters. We change lives. I eagerly look forward to changing them with you.” I agree wholeheartedly with that statement and look forward to McDaniel’s increased presence in the world of higher education. Following President Casey’s lead, I am proud to say:
“I am McDaniel” and I McSwagger.