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Values Day at Stetson Sept. 18

Kimbrough, WalterOn Wednesday, September 18, Stetson University will welcome the distinguished president of New Orleans’ Dillard University, Dr. Walter Kimbrough (pictured), to the DeLand campus as keynote speaker for the university’s annual Values Day. For this event, which represents a collective exploration of Stetson’s value commitments and reflection upon how well we live them, classes will be cancelled, enabling students, faculty and staff to attend the events scheduled for that day. Kimbrough, one of the youngest university presidents in the United States, who uses his fluency in social media and familiarity with youth culture to inform his dynamic and practical approach to issues of racism and educational reform, will speak at 10:30 a.m. in Lee Chapel. His outspoken activism will no doubt challenge and inspire the Stetson community to deepen its commitment to fostering lives of significance.

Kimbrough’s visit is a natural extension of Stetson’s long-standing and expanding commitment to social justice. Building upon nearly a century of values-shaped education through its ties to the Florida Baptist Convention, the late Stetson President Doug Lee led the university through redefining its values more inclusively and integrating them more fully throughout the institution. Under Lee’s leadership, Stetson began the tradition of Values Day. More recently, President Wendy Libby has reinvigorated these commitments through an action-oriented process primarily directed by Stetson faculty and staff, and informed by students, alumni, administrators and others in the Stetson community.

As a result of Libby’s work, Stetson has taken concrete steps to enhance its commitment to diversity and global citizenship, to encourage our integration of spirituality and healthy living on campus, and to develop the intellectual life of the university. Stetson’s most recent values-oriented work can be viewed at: https://www2.stetson.edu/secure/values-comments/values-working-groups/.

The Values Commitment Steering Team that directs this work continually welcomes recommendations at values@stetson.edu or by directly contacting any of its members:

Michael Branton (mbranton@stetson.edu)

Leila Roach (lroach@stetson.edu)

Joshua Rust (jrust@stetson.edu)

Lynn Schoenberg (lschoenb@stetson.edu)

Robert Sitler (rsitler@stetson.edu)

Rina Tovar (rtovar@stetson.edu)

Our day has three basic phases (www.Stetson.edu/values-day)

  • 10:30 a.m. – Dr. Walter Kimbrough, keynote address, Lee Chapel
  • 1 p.m. – Lectures, workshops organized by Stetson faculty and staff. All sessions will begin promptly on the hour, beginning at 1:00.
  • 4:15 p.m. – Follow-up discussions for recommendations on better integration of Stetson’s values commitments, Stetson Room. Members of the Steering Team will be on hand to assure that suggestions are received for appropriate consideration.

Stetson students can earn three cultural credits by participating in any three sessions throughout the day (the keynote address, any of the workshop sessions, the recommendation session). There are no options for earning one or two credits. Students themselves will be responsible for awarding their own three cultural credits by signing and turning in their program. Such trust is possible since Stetson University has embraced an academic environment that assumes the integrity of its students. The Honors System Council, a student group dedicated to academic honesty, will be directing the distribution and collection of the Values Day programs where student signatures will signify their participation.

Stetson invites all members of the university community to offer their time, passion and energy to help the institution take further practical steps on all Stetson campuses and in university operations to thoughtfully incorporate its values commitments.

By Robert Sitler, Ph.D.

Professor, Department of Modern Languages and Literatures

Values Commitment Steering Team