This week is Honors Week at Widener—our annual celebration of academic excellence. Every year, we kick off the festivities with the induction of new members into Sigma Tau Delta. This year, six new members were inducted: Michael Brant, Dana Schweizer, Carlie Sisco, Taylor Blum, Nicholas Demkin, and Haley Poluchuk.
The keynote was delivered by Chapter Vice President Taylor Brown. Her remarks were a stirring call to action for students in English and Creative Writing, and the humanities more broadly. She said that those who love literature have found “the code for honest, loving, fulfilled lives,” and that we have a responsibility to show the value of what we know and love about literature, to be “warriors” for the humanities.
The induction was followed in the evening by the Honors Week open mic, hosted by Kelsey Styles (Creative Writing and Communication Studies, ’17) and Evan Kramer (English and Creative Writing, ’17). Students and faculty read original work, as well as pieces by others that have inspired them.
Here’s the full text of Taylor’s remarks:
Four years. Four years to catch it, read it, learn it, bring it inside of you, and spit out something new. Four years is enough time to change the world—for better or for worse. Four years is enough time to meet yourself hundreds of times over. Four years is all it takes to become a completely new person, watching the world open up around you. The truth is, four years is an eternity and a second, and what you do with it is completely up to you.
The Humanities are going to see some impacts within the next four years, and I fear that it will become our responsibility as students of literature, history, language, and art to stay focused and resolved against those who feel our knowledge is not valuable. It isn’t news to many of you sitting before me that a degree in English is not exactly considered fool proof by the American public, but in my eyes I can’t see a better way to spend four years. I have gained access into every point of view imaginable, every consciousness, every culture, every family, every life, and it is all thanks to my education in English. I think humans have unlocked the code for an honest, loving, infallible life and we’ve hidden it away in books. When you make a habit of reading, you make a habit of knowing how it feels to be something or someone else. Willingly leaving yourself behind to experience the life of another—a state of true imaginative empathy. This is something the world needs more of, and I hate to tell you guys, but it’s kind of up to you to remind everyone what we’re here for. In the meantime, take these four years and turn them into greatness. Become the best version of yourself so that others can learn from your example. Most of all, spend this four years surrounding yourself with people that know your mission and see the impact a life of books can have on the soul because these are the warriors and they will know the fight when they see it.