Just over a week ago the Class of 2011 arrived on campus. They are an eclectic lot, bright eyed and able. The mood on campus is electric; the Chaplains hosted a PB&J Bash inviting those interested in their ministries to drop by and get acquainted. The annual Duck Float, close now to a tradition, invited frosh to choose a yellow duck from those floating in the moat. Over 500 were taken. Having your own yellow ducky might not have the cachet it once had, but they do get attention.
Johanna Kiefner, the Lutheran Chaplain for the last seven years, leaves this month to complete her Social Work degree. she has been a valuable, caring member of our community. Her interim replacement, Diane Ranson, has the challenge of following a compassionate professional. At the same time, we are welcoming back Amy McCreath from a summer sabbatical. She and Diane will lead this year's iteration of the Lutheran-Episcopal Ministry. Known at LEM, the program has a storied history here at MIT.
While we celebrate what Johanna has done and welcome Diane to our community, we also must deal with the absence in our midst of James Albrecht '08. A former President of Baker House, James died in New York City this summer. He was a campus leader, a math major with enormous talent and intellect, and a friend to many. Services have been held in his home town, but on campus we are just now back so today led by Fr. Richard Clancy we celebrated James' life.
Our year begins celebrating the promise of a diverse and talented new class. We say good by to a good friend and caring pastor who knew how to foster and support faith in both thought and action. As well we come together to grieve and to begin to heal. It is a new year and a new beginning, but already we are reminded of the fragility of life and friendship and the value of a caring community. It is ever so.
Robert M. Randolph