Happy Hanukkah! Tonight is the fifth night of the Jewish Festival of Lights commemorating the rededication of the Second Temple after the Maccabee revolt against Antiochus IV Epiphanes. The Babylonian Talmud recounts that the lamp oil, enough for only one day, burned miraculously for eight days. To all who will light our menorahs tonight, let us ponder on the privilege of religious freedom in America and the comfort of knowing that even in the darkest nights, lighting just one candle illuminates the world.
Did you have an opportunity over Thanksgiving weekend to unwind, relax, and celebrate with your family? Were you ensconced on your couch, rooted to the TV, when the Detroit Lions triumphed over the Green Bay Packers, when the Baltimore Ravens routed the Pittsburgh Steelers, and when the Dallas Cowboys beat the Oakland Raiders? I relished the annual experience of cooking a turkey feast complete with trimmings, including my own cranberry chutney made with fresh cranberries from the UMass cranberry station in Wareham. It was a delight to have time to read a book of short stories by Nobel Prize winner Alice Munro and on Saturday to watch the brilliant and searing movie "12 Years A Slave." What do you think about Alice Munro's short stories or the movie?
On November 22, in observance of the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the Standard Times published a number of op-ed essays. One was authored by our own Prof. of History Mark Santow, click here, and another by me, click here.
Were you there when "the smartest man in Congress," as he was referred to by "60 Minutes," visited our campus recently? Congressman Barney Frank, who served in office for 32 years and donated the entirety of his papers to UMass Dartmouth, lectured in Prof. Ken Manning's Constitutional Law class; in Prof. Neil Olitsky's Microeconomics class; engaged with students in open forums at the Law School and the Charlton College of Business; and delivered a public lecture titled "How to Break Stalemates: Political and Economic" at the Claire T. Carney Library Reading Room. Imagine the breadth and depth of someone who can expound on that broad range of topics and display such wit and humor to boot! Thank you to Prof. Shannon Jenkins, Georgianna Goulding, and their committee, for organizing the events, and to the co-chairs of the Barney Frank Endowment campaign, Jim Karam and John Quinn. Please take a moment to send a note to thank Barney for his time, his collection, his generosity to UMass Dartmouth, and his impactful legislation that has made a difference in our nation and our lives.
What an incredible trip we had in the Azores! Joining Senator Michael Rodrigues, Senator Marc Pacheco, Representative Tony Cabral, and more than 20 Massachusetts legislators, our team, including Dean Steve Lohrenz, Prof. Maryellen Brisbois, and myself, participated in this trade mission. We toured the island of São Miguel, a breathtakingly beautiful and verdant landscape with volcanic craters, lakes, and cliffs. Riding past meadows with profusions of powder blue hydrangeas and bright pink azaleas, we visited Sete Cidades, Terra Nostra Park, and Furnas.
At a dinner hosted by President Vasco Cordeiro, we were able to visit the stunning and opulent Sant'Ana Palace with its sumptuous tile frescoes, elaborately engraved woodwork, and luminous stained glass windows. And we had a fruitful meeting at the University of the Azores with President Jorge Rosa de Medeiros, Prof. Luis Andrade, Prof. Helder Pereira, Prof. Ana Alves, and Prof. Eduardo Isidro. With such a robust and positive discussion, I anticipate the first student exchange in Nursing to take place as early as Fall of 2014!
Congratulations to Prof. Robert Waxler on his new book, The Risk of Reading: How Literature Helps Us to Understand Ourselves and the World.
Have a joyful week, everyone!