The purpose and passion of work – President’s Perspective

Dr. Joe ManickamEvery year a book is chosen to be the community read for the First-Year Experience (FYE) course, a required fall semester course for all first-year students. Many faculty and staff also choose to read the book in order to find commonality and a way to better relate to students. This year’s book was Callings: The Purpose and Passion of Work (Penguin, 2017) by Dave Isay.

As theologian and writer Frederick Buechner said about callings, “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meets.” Callings is all about stories of people doing what they love. Most of our students are still in the infancy of discovering what their passions – their callings – may be, but we are honored to walk with them during this part of their journey. 

Every person’s calling looks different. Some may discover their calling earlier in life than others. Some may find their calling in a professional role while for others, a calling is not a career. Yet each person’s story and journey to discovery is beautiful and holy in its own way.

In this issue, you will read stories of alumni who are living out their calling in a variety of ways. I love hearing these kinds of stories, whether it is in these pages or in visiting with alumni around the country. Whether they realized it at the time or not, the Hesston Experience played a part in their calling story. It may take time to see just what that impact was, but it always tends to surface at some point – a tribute to this experience that prepares students in special ways for the many aspects of life.

Just as we encourage our students to do with their peers, faculty and staff on campus, as you encounter people throughout your life, I encourage you to be curious. Take that piece of the Hesston Experience with you wherever you go. Get to know others and discover what they are passionate about. Share your own passions as well. Sharing our differences, similarities, hopes, dreams and passions is one way to find common humanity with all.

Dr. Joseph A. Manickam ’87, President