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DOES MUHLENBERG COLLEGE HAVE A SOUL?

When most people think of a college, they think of the people who teach and work there and the buildings that form the campus. They may think of the alumni who honor the school, the students who attend and the institutions and individuals who support it. But these are just the trappings of something greater, and that is the soul of the place.

Every college and university has a soul. It is that special quality that makes the place unique and embodies the ideals the founders had when the college was first started. The soul also represents its hopes and its future. It represents what it stands for along with the best thinking and the best efforts of the very best people who are a part of the community.

What is it that makes Muhlenberg the very special place it is? Why are people drawn to its tree-lined greens and brick and limestone edifices? It is Muhlenberg's soul.

Muhlenberg's soul is rooted in its heritage. As a liberal arts college, we believe strongly that a student is more than a mind. A student is an entire being, and it is the role of the College to provide an experience that is enriching to the mind, body and spirit. People of faith founded the College, and the College continues to be a place where people can express and examine their faith. To achieve this, the College community must be an accepting and caring place. It is critical that students examine issues of ethics and morality. This is an important component to the College's soul. Everyone, including students, is faced with ethical dilemmas every day. Something as simple as purchasing a lunch can be a test for one's morality. "Should I try and slip something into my backpack?" a student might ask him or herself. "Is this the 'right' thing to do? And even if I know it is not 'right,' is it 'wrong' enough that I won't do it? How do I feel about these labels of right and wrong?"

Students should wrestle with these questions, and through the examination of these difficult issues, we hope they will ultimately express the ideals of decency and honesty. Decency and honesty are at the root of this College's soul.

The caring and friendly nature of Muhlenberg exists because we live by simple rules. We do not hurt ourselves, and we do not hurt others. Taking the lessons taught to us by our founders, we look to help others. There is no room on this campus for those who tear each other down, either physically or emotionally. Our goal is to build each other up, to encourage each person on this campus to reach his or her full potential.

The next time you are on campus or at an alumni event, look for the soul of Muhlenberg. You will find it. You will see it in the friendly smiles of students as they welcome you. You will see it in the hugs that are exchanged by members of this community. Every person who has been touched by this College, every person who has walked through Muhlenberg's red doors has a part of the College's soul within them. What the College means, what the College stands for, what the College wants to be are the most important aspects of who we are. Be of good cheer, for Muhlenberg College stands for those principles of decency and caring, and they will carry us forward with honor into the future.


Arthur R. Taylor

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