A ceremony on March 23 celebrated the installation of Kendrick T. Brown as the new dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. Here are excerpts from the comments he shared about sayings that reflect his guiding principles.
“Leave it better than how I found it.”
Being part of a Black American family in Northeast Ohio, I experienced a neighborhood that was predominantly Black and working class in East Cleveland. Then, I lived in a more mixed neighborhood in a middle-class suburb outside of Cleveland. In both of those settings, I connected with the aspirations and hopes that Black people had for their American journey. I also gained a deep appreciation for taking the long view, realizing that lasting change can be hard to attain, and understanding that I am part of something that preceded me and will continue after me.
“Integrity is easier kept than regained.”
I ran across this saying in graduate school at the University of Michigan [from a]fellow graduate student [who]was a former Marine coming back to school to pursue his doctorate in organizational psychology. I see it as a reminder that no matter how difficult a situation or how tempting it might be to take an easy route, we lose an important part of ourselves when we are less than honorable. Not only that, no matter how hard we seek to atone for a lapse, getting back to a state of integrity may not be possible.
“Tell the truth and shame the devil.”
I am not an overly religious person, but this saying connects in a visceral way for me. Often in academia, we pursue truth, whether it is subjectively represented or part of our external world. In that pursuit of truth, we can find something personally sacred that can inspire and teach others. Our duty then becomes to share that truth, even when it might prove difficult for others to encounter. That does not mean we should be insensitive to others, but our duty to tell the truth compels us to bring greater understanding into the world.