Farrington-Clute to alumni: ‘You bring us joy’
In April Spanish Professor Sally Farrington-Clute, who retired this year after 41 years, was named an honorary alumna by the Cornell College Alumni Association. In a tearful speech before she received her certificate, Farrington-Clute focused on the impact that students and alumni have on professors.
“You, our alumni, know there are voices and forces across the country that threaten the existence of colleges like us and that doubt the wisdom of what we do here,” she told the Alumni Board and guests. “However, from my perspective—the faculty perspective—we see the clear affirmation of ‘our way’ in you, our alumni.
“We watch you arrive here with your youth, energy, and intelligence: Wondrous strangers. As time passes, we come to know you. We begin to fathom your promise and potential. We encourage you with knowledge, experience, and guidance to the degree that we can and according to what you allow. When you depart from us at graduation—your commencement—you do not leave us empty, but rather filled with hope.
“Time passes. And suddenly you send us an email, or even a letter. You call us on the phone, or you come back to visit. And in your words, your ideas, your projects, your actions and achievements, we realize that something which began here has matured in you. You have transformed it, in ways we never could have imagined, and you are carrying it into the future.
“You assure us, in the plenitude of your being, that what we have done here—together—has not been in vain. You are the irrefutable answer to all the questions about why we persist. You lift our spirits. You bring us joy.”