So, our first week of classes are drawing to a close at IUP. It has been a typical first week of classes – I am having trouble finding a parking space at school, but for some reason that gets easier as we progress through the semester. I have also had lots of meetings as committees try to catch up on their work from the long break. So far, I have had a graduate curriculum meeting, a meeting with my dean, and a departmental faculty meeting. Tomorrow I have an honors college meeting and a perhaps the most important meeting of the week – a PKAP SL meeting. We have had several 2 person meetings in SL, but we are shooting for a 3 person meeting tomorrow.
Today has been a bit depressing. As I waited for our departmental meeting, I cleaned out one of my filing cabinets where I store old student papers. As I was sorting through them, I ran across a paper turned in by Eric Slebodnik. Eric was a history major I had in several of my classes and one I remember as a bright young man who enjoyed history for the sake of learning. Eric, unfortunately, was killed in a roadside bombing in Iraq in September of 2005. The history department, working with the IUP Foundation, and Eric’s parents have established the Eric Slebodnik Memorial Scholarship for History. The fund, through the generous donations of many people, reached endowment levels last year. This will be the first year that the department will be able to award a history major the Eric Slebodnik Memorial Scholarship and at our meeting today we talked about the scholarship and the steps we need to take to award this scholarship. It struck me in the meeting how coincidences can make you stop and think. On this day, for no particular reason other than I had the time and an urge to straighten up my office, I ran across a paper of Eric’s and then less than an hour later the department was discussing his scholarship. It really is moments like this that help you, or at least me, put things into perspective…hopefully.