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Old Dimensions Left Behind

The late Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., is quoted as saying “A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.” His comments really resonate with us at Northwood University. The notion that we are changed forever by our experiences is both refreshing and liberating. It’s also the reason we continue to underscore the valuable lessons we learn by allowing ourselves to be challenged by creative thinking and new ideas.

Last week, for example, we hosted the Forum for Citizenship and Enterprise on our Michigan campus, featuring a debate by noted foreign policy analysts Max Boot and Doug Bandow. Their topic, U.S. involvement in the Middle East, was especially relevant considering the timing of President Obama’s request to Congress for authorization of military force against Islamic State militants.

Our students are always finding ways to make us proud, like Emily Bagwell, a senior originally from Livonia, MI who was recently honored by the YWCA Great Lakes Bay Region as a 2015 Women of Achievement Emerging Leader at the fourth annual Women of Achievement Awards. Throughout her time at Northwood, she has been involved in a number of on and off campus organizations, and she volunteers at a local elementary school.

Our Michigan campus’s  St. Jude Up ‘til Dawn Executive Board, led by junior Courtney Mast and Group Advisor Ellen Iwanow, held their all-night event where 20 of our students raised over $13,000 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Each of these examples reflects our Code of Ethics, emphasizing the values of freedom, respect, empathy, spirituality, integrity and responsibility. These experiential learning opportunities promote critical thinking skills, personal effectiveness, and the importance of standing strong for one’s values.

It’s true, as Holmes says, we cannot go back to our old dimensions after stretching ourselves with new experiences. And that’s a really good thing, because college is all about transformation, and we are proud to be in the business of shaping students for success in their careers and communities.

Have a great weekend.


Keith A. Pretty, J.D. President and CEO Northwood University 4000 Whiting Drive Midland, MI 48640 989.837.4203

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