December 2, 2016

Dr. Palmer’s Update: November 2011

Dr. Palmer’s Update: November 2011
November 3, 2011

It’s not often that Principia business takes me to Europe. However, this week I am heading to Amsterdam on a dual-purpose trip on behalf of Principia. From November 5–12 my wife, Sue, and I will join 130 adult learners on the Principia Adult Continuing Education (PACE) Rhine Cruise.

This educational adventure will take us from Amsterdam to Basel aboard the Amacello, exploring castles, cathedrals, and museums along the way. We are looking forward to making new friends while learning about the rich religious traditions and art history of the region.

Several Principia experts will help us get the most out of the sites and scenery along the river. Clark Beim-Esche, longtime Upper School English and Integrated Arts teacher, will provide context to the historic art, architecture, and literature of the area. College religion professor Helen Mathis will be on board to help bring the religious history alive for our group. After we visit the European Parliament and Strasbourg Cathedral in Strasbourg, France, College political science professor Brian Roberts will join us via the Internet to share information about the European Union, its parliament, and its influence on the region.

I’m particularly looking forward to visiting the old cathedral city of Worms in western Germany, where Luther likely uttered the words that open Chapter 10 (“Science of Being”) in Science and Health: “Here I stand. I can do no otherwise; so help me God! Amen!”

While in Amsterdam, I will meet with executives of Cordstrap BV, the Netherlands-based manufacturer of shipping materials gifted to Principia by PACE participant, Fred van Eck. Fred’s unique contribution of this successful company has provided a steady stream of income to Principia during the past decade, and we are grateful for his generous gift. I’m looking forward to seeing Cordstrap’s headquarters and getting to know the remarkable team that has expanded the company across four continents.

In fact, our strong connection to Cordstrap came in handy for the College solar car team of 10 students who just returned from the World Solar Challenge in Australia. The team received exceptional shipping advice and state-of-the-art, donated materials that allowed them to safely transport Principia’s latest solar car, Ra 7s, down under. Check out the St. Louis Post-Dispatch feature on our team that appeared in this week’s paper.

Back in St. Louis and Elsah, fall sports are wrapping up. The cross-country teams on both campuses have had particularly successful seasons. The College men’s team won the conference championship, and head coach Chuck Wilcoxen was named the SLIAC Men’s Cross Country Coach of the Year for the second time. The Upper School girls’ cross-country team qualified to compete at the state meet in Jefferson City this Saturday. Highlights from the meet will be posted at

I hope you will mark your calendars for the next Principia Chat. On Tuesday, November 15, at 8 p.m. (CT), College Dean of Students Dorsie Glen and Upper School Dean of Students Lee Fletcher-McGookin will be talking about character education at Principia. Tune in to Principia Internet Radio for this update on the many ways our administrators, faculty, and staff are focusing on “character unfoldment” or what founder Mary Kimball Morgan referenced as “our real work” at Principia. Dorsie and Lee will take your questions and share information about how the Reconciliation Board at the School and Restorative Justice and Community Board at the College are involving students in resolving disciplinary issues on both campuses.

Although I’m only gone 10 days, I will miss our remarkable students. I’m more accustomed to regularly welcoming study abroad groups back from global adventures than heading off on one myself. Every once in a while, though, it’s probably a good idea to see what it feels like to be a student again. I’m looking forward to it!