York has been supported faithfully by the York community for many years. How does the relationship between the town and college today compare with the 1970s?
Well this is an area where we absolutely must recognize the legacy of Wayne Baker. That man has connected us with this community as we never were before. We need to really be appreciative of that. So, I and everyone else wonders where we go next.
First of all, upon returning I realized that I can’t do some of the things Wayne did. What I’ve seen because of my deficiencies in that area, is that this is another opportunity. We need to have more faces from this college than the president known and active in this community – in service clubs, the Chamber, and other organizations. The time is right for there to be many people from campus who are active in every facet of this town. We owe it to this community and this community doesn’t need to see York College as the president. They need to see York College as a great collection of people with many talents who are giving back.
We owe a lot to this community obviously because of its financial support but its much more than that. It’s the quality of life and friendship we’ve been given for many, many years.
I was at the radio station (KAWL) this morning, and Mark (Jensen) said how much the community appreciates the college because of what our students are doing, and the way they conduct themselves in the community. Our students interact and blossom here in many ways because York is the quintessential college town – nurturing people, tree-lined streets, quiet neighborhoods with century-old homes. York may not think of itself as a college town but it is, and the benefit for our students is huge. Our students come now and they see York as their community. That connection needs to grow.
One example of our relationship with the community would be the schools, public and private. Our students are welcome in classrooms as student-teachers and observers. The experiences our students have in York Public Schools and other school districts in the area are an important part of our teacher preparation. The relationship benefits the college and it benefits the community.
Many people have been part of this growing relationship, but at the heart of this monumental change is the hard work and community spirit of Wayne Baker. I think our future in York is very bright in large part because of what Wayne did. I will always be grateful for the groundwork he laid.