December 2, 2016

Dr. Palmer’s Update: October 2012

Dr. Palmer’s Update: October 2012
October 3, 2012

Principia’s student-athletes are welcoming the wet fall weather with unqualified enthusiasm this year. Thanks to the generous donors who fully funded the School’s recently installed artificial turf field, our soccer and football athletes are continuing to practice and play games in spite of recent rains.

In fact, the blessings are extending all the way across the river to our College teams; the first game played on the new field was a College women’s soccer tournament, which Principia won.

It’s been terrific to see the community coming out to support our teams on this versatile new field, reminding each of us that everything at Principia is a gift from generous alumni and friends. Even last year’s graduating seniors contributed to the field through their senior gift, raised through yearlong fundraising events.

During the past month, I’ve had a full travel schedule that included visiting friends of Principia in Southern California, Minneapolis, Ohio, and Dallas. In addition to catching up with Principians in Washington, DC, I also met with the four Missouri and Illinois Senate offices representing Principia in Congress.

Back at home, the Biology and Natural Resources Department at the College hosted a biology conference for more than 100 attendees from greater St. Louis-area institutions last weekend. The participants, including representatives from the St. Louis Zoo, Missouri Botanical Garden, and Washington University, toured the College’s Mammoth Dig in between discussions of the evolution of species diversity and phylogeny.

Across all levels of Principia, classes are in full swing, and students already are reaping the rewards. Some athletic seasons are starting to wind down, with great successes to show for the student-athletes’ efforts. Our youngest students at the Preschool are harvesting the results of last spring’s garden; their hard work yielded 19 pumpkins and enough green beans for all the preschoolers to taste during lunch.

At the Upper School, students, faculty, and staff enjoyed Missouri Day in mid-September—rafting down the Meramec River and bonding as a group. More recently, seniors then spent a long weekend at their senior retreat, engaging in robust discussions with two Christian Science lecturers and fostering teamwork through high and low ropes courses and challenge games.

This weekend, parents of boarding and day students at the Upper School will be participating in Family Weekend. They will attend classes with students in the morning on Friday, followed by a band/choir concert in the evening and then a full schedule of athletic events and class dessert parties on Saturday. It’s always fun to welcome families to campus and share the excitement of a busy fall schedule.

At the College, students are getting ready for a few days off during Fall Break next week. The Metanoia Club is taking more than 40 students to Warren Dunes on Lake Michigan during the break. The students will enjoy three full days of solo time designed to “restore the lost element of solitude, stillness, and profound spiritual listening.” A few days without classes will be a welcome break for students who are studying hard, competing vigorously in athletics, and giving in all directions.

I hope many of you are making plans to join us at the College for homecoming weekend October 19–21. It will be jam-packed with celebrating, supporting, and even competing with current Principia College athletes.

This is the year for the biennial Gold & Blue Athletic Hall of Fame celebration. A reception and induction ceremony will be held on Saturday evening (registration in advance is appreciated, but tickets will be available at the event). Alumni games, a homerun derby, a 5K fun run, a political panel discussion on the upcoming elections, and visits to the 21st Century classroom are all on the weekend agenda as well. It will be a great time to celebrate Principia athletes of the past and present, and we would love to have you here in person. (See the full homecoming weekend schedule.)

Next month, we are looking forward to hosting “A Celebration of Bernard Maybeck and Principia College” on November 8–10 at the College. Prominent Maybeck scholars and other architectural experts will come together for two days of panel discussions and the premiere showing of Paul Bockhorst’s film Pursuing Beauty: The Architecture of Bernard Maybeck. Guided tours of the campus will be provided, and a special exhibition of selected architectural renderings from the Maybeck and White Collection of the Principia Archives will be open for viewing. Registration for this event is now open; please pass the word to anyone you think might be interested in attending.

Our next three online courses begin later this month. Sign up today to learn about the founding of The Christian Science Monitor, study the character of the three Roosevelts, or unravel the Persian puzzle through in-depth study of Iran. These online courses offer an opportunity for adults everywhere to experience the Principia difference—all you need is an Internet connection.

I hope you will take a few minutes to check out Principia’s 2011–2012 Annual Report, offering a financial update and an overview of accomplishments during the past fiscal year, ending in July. It was a remarkable year of successes and progress.

As part of our ongoing efforts to be good financial stewards of the donations given to Principia, we have decided not to send the Annual Report out widely in printed form. However, we invite everyone to check it out online. And you may request a printed copy by e-mailing In addition, we hope you’ll review the donor honor roll, which is available exclusively online this year.