When I teach Principles of Macroeconomics (which I have not done for some time), I teach, among other things, the Keysian model that says that the total spending in the economy can be summarized as consisting of “C+I+G”. That is, it is made up of consumer spending (C), business investment (I) and government spending (G). I thought of this recently when I contemplated a gift  that will allow Ursuline College to make a major investment in our facilities. Thanks to an anonymous donor, we are able to proceed with plans for a building which will be called the “Center for the Creative and Healing Arts.” We plan to break ground on this investment in the fall.
The gift, although of a size common for larger colleges, was the largest in the history of our college, and I soon found myself in conversations with colleagues about the idea of writing a check for several million dollars. “Can you imagine having that kind of money?” we asked each other. And then we paused to ask ourselves, “What is it about our college that might attract such a large gift?” As we spoke among ourselves, I realized that the things that might inspire someone to donate such a large gift were the same things that would encourage me to send a child to our college. As I thought of this, I wished I could thank that anonymous donor, on behalf of myself, my colleagues and my students.
I wished I could thank this donor on behalf of my colleagues and myself, as we all take teaching our students very seriously. For example, I see students doing their own research and I look forward to a student research symposium in a few weeks. I see relatively small classes, a welcome alternative to large, amphitheatre classes found at some schools. And I see my students growing as people as well as students as they mature in their years here. I sometimes even see professors teaching courses as “independent studies” when students need specific courses to graduate on time. When I search for a college for my own daughter, I hope that we can find one where employees as dedicated as they are here.
I also wished I could thank this donor on behalf of my students, especially those students who will attend our college in the future and take advantage of the new classroom and laboratory space they have made possible. When I think of my students who will benefit, I recall students who traveled through our college in the past. I think especially of three students who took my calculus classes and are now doctors- one has a Ph.D., another is a family physician while another works in a specialized field of medicine in one of the excellent hospitals in our town. And I think of some other students who came to Ursuline after attending other colleges, and, once here, found the “voice” that our tag line, “values, voice and vision” professes. From very poor areas of Cleveland, some came from schools where no one expected them to attend college. Still, they graduated and some even went on to pursue graduate work. The last I heard from one of them, she had completed her master’s degree in math and had just been named “teaching assistant of the year” in her graduate program. I heard that she had taken a position teaching at a community college in the area, a school that she had once attended for a while before finding us. When I look for a college for my daughter, I hope to find a school that will encourage her in spite of, and perhaps because of, whatever challenges she may have confronted in life.
Finally, I wished I could thank the donor on behalf of yet another constituency. Since many of the students who will be taught in the new building will go on to work in health care, I wish I could thank them on behalf of the patients that our students will someday care for. Several years ago, I found myself in the hospital with several broken bones, and had only the nurses who cared for me to help me through the day. That experience taught me to appreciate the people who care for those who are ill or injured. I am sure that the patients of the students who will become outstanding nurses and doctors after studying in this building will be appreciative of the education that those students will receive. I know that I would like any school my daughter attends to have modern facilities, as we now will. And who knows, maybe someday she will take advantage of this new building herself, as she invests in her own future.