September 11 followed a trustee meeting where I spent the weekend with several trustees. We’d renewed our friendship, I felt connected, and I wanted to know if they and other alumni friends from NYC and Washington were okay.
I learned about the Wesleyan Web site in response to September 11 and logged on to check what I almost didn’t want to know–was there anyone I knew who wasn’t okay? That first day, and subsequent days, didn’t always give me the assurance I was looking for, but I found myself drawn to the site daily to check if there was any new information, new stories. I don’t know why I kept checking except I felt connected to something I needed to be connected to–the Wesleyan community that kept logging on. The Web site wasn’t just for those in New York; everyone around the world was deeply affected, and I believe we all found reassurance at this location, this common place.
The site became more than just the stories of September 11. It became a place to discuss the broader issues of terrorism and world politics. We Wesleyan alumni have opinions, and we like a forum to share and discuss ideas. In the uncertainty of that time, those days, we came home to a familiar spirit of Wesleyan. We came home to a place where thoughts, fears, and hopes can be shared.
Late this fall, when the Executive Committee of the Alumni Association met, we had a smaller group than normal. In our group there was a sense that it was nice to be together: there was a heightened appreciation for each other and for our common Wesleyan history. There was also a sense that those who had traveled to get there had done something special, had shown a level of commitment and caring we hadn’t noticed before, when we’d thought of travel as merely a hassle. After we’d completed our business, we gave the floor to those who had been in New York and Washington, and we heard their stories. One Committee member from New York spoke of how citizens formed unofficial cheering squads on street corners to applaud rescue workers when they finished their shifts. The story left a vivid impression.
People are feeling grateful to others for their hard work and sacrifice. People are grateful for their connections to others in these days since September 11.
As an alumna, I’m feeling grateful for my connections to Wesleyan, and to those who gave a virtual place for us to gather on the Web to share news, ideas and stories. I am grateful to President Bennet for leading the University’s efforts to understand what happened and for his letter to alumni. The Wesleyan community gave us something we could put our hands around. We are grateful for our friends, our classmates, and our common ground.
And, with gratitude, I look forward to joining you in all aspects of this far-flung community: I invite you to come “home” for friendship and common ground, for intellectual challenge and discourse. And I thank you for your commitment and for strengthening your connection to Wesleyan.
Kate Quigley Lynch ’82, Chairperson