An Anniversary Gift
December 20, 2011
Dear Members and Friends of Brooks College:
Today is an auspicious day, and I invite you to celebrate it and say a prayer of thanksgiving, if you will, for the occasion.
Twenty years ago this very day I was wedded to my wife, Michele. We vowed with God's help to love, honor, and cherish each other so long as breath is given to our mortal bodies. Thanks be to God, we have learned better each passing year how to fulfill the solemn, joyous covenant to which we committed ourselves. I have great cause for celebrating, knowing how high above my station I married!
Five years ago this semester, Baylor announced our appointment as master and associate master of Brooks Residential College. It has been our privilege to lead Baylor in some of its first, fledgling steps toward recovering the collegiate way of life in concert with the highest aspirations of Baylor 2012.
In tribute most especially to my wife and her two decades of devotion to me, and in thanksgiving as well for our five years as part of Brooks College, it's a pleasure to announce a special gift completed during the last year. Desiring to give all that come into the college a greater sense of its loveliness and beauty, I donated funds for the landscaping of the quad-a thousand dollars for each year of my marriage.
We once all entered the quad to the sight of a stark, austere, and empty space, over which loomed harsh, high-towering stone-and-brick walls. Now, the place through which we daily pass presents walking paths, benches, sweet-scented cherry laurels and ruby-red roses, and an altogether more delightful place in which to gather, sit, watch, listen, and enjoy life together.
Turning a desolate space into a lovely place, one that cheers and uplifts, is a wonderful thing. For the knowledgeable help of excellent groundskeepers like Andy Trimble, who helped design and oversee the landscaping, I am thankful. For the watchful counsel of administrative colleagues like Jim Broaddus, who can make anything happen well and on schedule, I am thankful. And for careful laborers who dug holes and laid irrigation, who planted greenery and who potted trees, I am thankful.
Most of all, I am thankful to be part of a splendid collegiate community in which I can praise my wife and honor her well, knowing that others recognize her merits too. I hope as you walk in and out of the quad, meander down its crushed granite paths, and sit in its benches, you'll be all the more thankful for the community we lead together.
Here's a final word to the wise. Aristotle writes: "a generous man will give to the right people, the right amount, at the right time, and do everything else that is implied in correct giving. Moreover, it will give him pleasure to do so . . . ." St. Thomas Aquinas writes: "parting with money by giving it to others proceeds from a greater virtue than when we spend it on ourselves." With such good words in mind, let's all, relative to our means, look for ways to grow in the virtue of generosity, considering how we might bless others through the gifts the Lord entrusts to us.
All the best,
Douglas V. Henry
Associate Professor of Philosophy, Honors College
Master, Brooks Residential College