Extraordinary Life: Justice, Play and Creative Tension - Dr. Margaret Lloyd (c. 1997)
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This document titled “The Extraordinary Life: Justice, Play and Creative Tension” is the Humanics Lecture that was given at Springfield College by Distinguished Professor of Humanics Dr. Margaret Lloyd in 1997. Lloyd begins by stating that she wrote this Humanics lecture up to the last minute because thinking about Humanics is a constant state of revision. She states her two persepctives on Humanics. Lloyd believes that Humanics is important to Springfield College and to many facets of our life in the academic community, including the tradition of greeting each other on campus, the evolution of our All-College Requirements, the kinds of programs we emphasize, the creation of our Vision/Mission Statement and Strategic Plan, our concern for ways to educate around and actualize social justice, the volunteerism of our students, faculty, staff, and administrators, and the many people on our campus who serve the community. On the other hand, she thinks that because Humanics is not a word in common usage and that it has to be constantly defined and redefined that it still maintains its energy and relevance. Lloyd states that “Humanics rests on the belief that all human beings, regardless of ethnicity, color, creed, and upbringing have vast potential. Each of us has vast potential, and so does everyone with whom we come in contact.” She says that teaching in the Humanics tradition involves holding up to students their extraordinary potential as human beings, because often by the time students get to Springfield College, Lloyd finds that many of them have given up on certain parts of themselves, certain visions that maybe they once had for the future. Lloyd next quotes passages from students speaking about how they have just gone through the motions and let the hopes of a better education slide through their fingertips. Lloyd believes we can help with this through maintaining a strong curriculum, emphasizing critical thinking, helping students to see their lives and the lives of other within the context of larger cultural forces, treating students with full respect, listening to what they have to say, and believing in their potential. She acknowledges that we are fortunate that Springfield College is an institution that has attracted students who have already involved themselves in volunteer activity, and who are motivated to prepare themselves for a life of service. She states that many students come here with a sense of their personal calling and are eager to learn, therefore, it is crucial that the college continues to attract such students and not lose sight of its mission and calling. Lloyd finishes by referencing Luther Halsey Gulick and his formulation of the conception of “play.” Gulick stated that “play is that which one does when one is free to pursue the deepest things that one chooses to do, for the joy of the working, not from compulsion, not from economic necessity, nor the lash of public opinion. Play is responsible for the splendid achievements of human life.” For this reason, Lloyd states that she wants to reintroduce play as an essential part of the Humanics tradition. Humanics is a word that has a special meaning in the history and philosophy of Springfield College, as well as in the college’s motto of “Spirit, Mind, and Body.” The Oxford English Dictionary defines Humanics as, “the subject or study of human affairs or relations, especially of the human element of a problem or situation as opposed to the mechanical.” In 1962, Dr. Glenn Olds, President of Springfield College at the time, began to wonder why this name was given to the intended philosophy of the college by Dr. Laurence Locke Doggett, Springfield College’s first full-time president. Olds acknowledged that the practices of the faculty were in large part consistent with the Humanics philosophy, but he believed that a more self-conscious application would improve chances of its continuity and survival. To ensure this, a Distinguished Professor of Humanics position was created at the college, first filled by Dr. Seth Arsenian from 1966-1969. The purpose of this position was to catalyze a renewal of consciousness in the philosophy. This was done by annually mandating the Distinguished Professor of Humanics to give a Humanics lecture on the definition of Humanics and what the concept means to them. Arsenian started this tradition in 1967 with his speech titled, “The Meaning of Humanics,” in which he described the concept as a set of ideas, values, and goals that make our college distinct from other colleges and make commitment and unity toward commonly sought goals possible.
|Springfield College Archives and Special Collections|
Springfield College--Alumni and alumnae
Lloyd, Margaret Glynne
Distinguished Professor of Humanics
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