When the new president takes office this summer, his/her presence will, in a sense, signal a new beginning for Eastern Illinois University.
And retiring President Lou Hencken expects to welcome his successor accordingly.
Earlier in the school year, Hencken announced plans to replace the large wall of windows located in the bridge walkway of the MLK Jr. Union with more energy-efficient ones. And because the wall of windows overlooks "beautiful Booth Library, and a work of art - our newest signature building, the Doudna Fine Arts Center," it occurred to him, Hencken said, that the new window itself could be a work of art.
Thus, "I propose that the window project be titled Great Beginnings,'" he added, noting that the finished project would become yet another symbol of the university experience in the lives of Eastern's students.
And its unveiling would, fittingly, become one of the first official duties of Eastern's new president.
Hencken then proposed that great first lines of literature -- a book, a play, a poem or a speech -- be etched into the glass as words that "echo down to us over the ages." The selections would be determined via a university/community-wide competition, "one in which all members of the university family can share," Hencken said.
The Great Beginnings Window Project Committee is now ready to accept ideas.
"We are looking to the EIU and local communities to give us some great first lines - first lines of books, plays, speeches, music lyrics or scores, movies, scientific or mathematical treatises, or any other documents - that will speak to those who view them," said Ann Brownson, committee chair.
"In President Hencken's words, the words should be particularly provocative or penetrating; should have been meaningful in your life; should reflect the rich diversity represented on this campus; should be an influence for good in the lives of the future generations of students who will pass through and read them; and should be worthy of the man for whom the Martin Luther King Jr. Union is named.'"
Brownson added that quotes "can be famous or of local interest."
Quotations, including pertinent citation information, should be sent to Brownson, c/o Booth Library, Eastern Illinois University, Charleston , Ill. 61920 , or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org by March 15.
Plans are that the project will be completed during Summer 2007.