Inauguration Symposium

It’s inauguration day and, thankfully, for all those attending the outdoor ceremony in the quad, fall is finally here. Gone is the muggy heat and now come the calm breezes of sunny afternoons padded with fluffy clouds. The traffic of the morning is headed towards the Knight Center building as the symposium occurs soon in the Emerson Auditorium.

It’s early and breakfast is provided (for those who have RSVP’d). Others grab a coffee from Starbucks and take a seat anywhere in Bauer because the voices of the researchers are being broadcasted throughout the building.

Already, Chancellor Martin is on stage posing for photos with the faculty research speakers. As they gather for the group photo, a hush falls over the crowd as if expecting the symposium speakers to sing out a choral set.

“Everyone got so quiet so fast,” Chancellor Martin says joking. “Shhh…” He fakes shushing the crowd.

“It’s important not to make this day all about me. Today should be just as much about you and the future of our university,” Chancellor Martin begins. A sentiment shared by the speakers as they begin to introduce themselves and the research that they are conducting at the university at any given moment.

We learn about how ultrasound can assist in curing brain diseases. We learn about how education can help with under-nutrition abroad as well as locally in St. Louis. We see data visualized through design and art. We learn about access to healthcare and breast cancer screenings. We learn about our city’s challenges and about the concept of momentum means in providing solutions, from moving research being done in Sub Saharan Africa to St. Louis to translating hard data into new visual spaces.

When intermission hits, I have to leave for class, which at first, disappoints me because I would like to stay for the rest of the talk. But I hear later one of the final quotes of the morning by Dr. Peter Boumgarden discussing experimental impact in St. Louis, encouraged and validated my choice to do just that when he said:

“The dreamers for the future sit in this university right now, hopefully in class.”