New Year’s Message

January 3, 2008

I begin this message with an image of the new cross that has just been anchored atop Boe Memorial Chapel. That venerable building was struck by lightning in September 2005 and, among other damage, the lightning strike fractured a piece off of the cross. After extensive remodeling of the interior of Boe Chapel and a new roof (occasioned by the hail storm of 2006), the cross has now been replaced. Daily chapel is streamed over the Internet at 10:10 a.m. (CST) each morning during January, and worship with Holy Communion is streamed Sundays at 10:30 a.m. We invite those of you unable to come to campus to log on to those services, and we encourage those of you nearby to worship with us.

We have begun the January Interim at St. Olaf. As our catalog explains, “The Interim provides an opportunity for instructors and students to focus their entire attention on one course for a full month and offers a time for single-minded study in depth. It is a time when unique teaching and learning styles may be utilized in traditional courses or when unique subjects may be studied in international or domestic off-campus locations.”

This Interim, 1,921 students are taking a class on campus, 87 students are registered for internships, and 46 students are registered for independent study or independent research. Many students and faculty engage in study travel over Interim, and this year is no exception. Three hundred and eighty-five students are registered for 17 international off-campus Interim courses led by St. Olaf faculty, and 178 students are registered for 12 domestic off-campus Interim courses led by St. Olaf faculty.
Interim is a time for courses that are especially suited to a month’s intensive study. Examples of this Interim’s offerings include: “Ecology, Religion, and Global Citizenship,” “The New Hampshire Primary and U.S. Presidential Politics,” “Political Psychology,” “ Nationalism and Revolution in Vietnam,” and “Nordic Film Today: Love, Sex, and Family.” Among the study abroad offerings are “Italian Art in Context,” “Medicinal Chemistry in Jamaica,” “The Structure of Higher Mathematics,” and “Historical Geography and the Bible.”

The break between Interim and the spring semester provides an opportunity for our musical ensembles to offer performances throughout the country. Between Feb. 1 and 14, the St. Olaf Orchestra will be traveling to Ames, Iowa; Kearney, Neb.; Denver and Colorado Springs, Colo.; Los Alamos and Albuquerque, N.M.; and Flagstaff, Cottonwood, and Mesa, Ariz. That same period will see the St. Olaf Choir in Seattle, Wash.; Eugene, Portland, and Salem, Ore.; Sacramento, Santa Barbara, Palo Alto, Pasadena, and San Diego, Calif.; and Mesa and Tucson, Ariz. The choir and orchestra will give a joint concert in Mesa on Feb. 10, an event not to be missed.

All of us at the college express our warmest thanks to our many friends who supported St. Olaf during 2007, and we extend our best wishes for 2008. Happy New Year!

David R. Anderson ’74