Chair of the Faculty

August 21, 2012

Kimn DaubmanGood evening. First I would like to welcome back the faculty and staff and extend a warm welcome to all of our new colleagues. I am sure, like me, you are eager to begin a new semester, so full of promise and possibilities.

On behalf of the faculty, I want to welcome all of the transfer students and the Class of 2016. We are glad you are here. We look forward to challenging you to become your best selves and, in turn, to being challenged by you to become our best selves.

I encourage you to think of your education at Bucknell as an important chapter in your journey to create a good life, a life that is worth living. A life in which you have figured out what is important and what is not important. A creative life that is well ordered, lived intentionally, and with integrity.

Throughout the ages, philosophers have had a lot to say about what it means to create a good life and, more recently, research from my own field of psychology has highlighted three essential elements necessary to live a rich, meaningful and happy life.

First, living a good life requires that you identify and develop your strengths. This means that at times you need to take a risk and try something new because you just might discover a strength and an interest that you didn't know you had. But at other times, it means knowing yourself well enough to choose the path you are meant to take. Ultimately, there is nothing more enjoyable and fulfilling than mastering an activity you love. Whether it's making music or solving a mathematical proof, when time flies and you feel fully engaged, you're experiencing what psychologists call flow. To create a good life, you need to recognize these moments of flow and figure out how to maximize them.

Living a good life also means connecting with something larger than yourself. Our lives have meaning only insofar as they are lived for something beyond simple hedonistic pleasure. Use your time here at Bucknell to identify the issues you care about and find ways to use your education to address those issues. Whether it's getting involved in tutoring children or developing appropriate technology to bring clean water to a remote village, using and developing your skills for worthy pursuits brings lasting fulfillment.

Living a good life also means developing strong relationships that are based on mutual respect and genuine intimacy. You are surrounded by interesting peers and by faculty and staff who are interested in you. Find a few kindred spirits and develop relationships that will nurture you.

As faculty, we are your fellow travelers on our own journeys to create a good life. We are sure that sharing the path with you for a time will enrich our lives. We are hopeful that you will also be enriched by sharing the path with us. We look forward to many conversations with you in the years ahead. Welcome to Bucknell.

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