Tag Archives: enduring questions

Turning Statues of Stone into Humans with Hearts

Pygmalion and Galatea by Giulio Bargellini (1875-1936)
Pygmalion and Galatea by Giulio Bargellini (1875-1936)

This address was delivered by C.J. Armstrong at Concordia University Irvine’s graduation ceremony on May 7, 2016.

President Krueger, it is an honor to have been asked to deliver the commencement address this year. For this I thank you. And I repeat the welcome to our distinguished guests, our honorees, the regents of our university, my fellow faculty, the parents, family and friends of our graduates. But above all my hat is off to the Concordia University Irvine graduating class of 2016.

It’s a special honor for me because it wasn’t too long ago that my hat was on here, when I walked across this stage at the Bren Center, graduating from University of California, Irvine after a lengthy study of the greatest poet ever born on earth, Ovid, who died on this very day, give or take a month or two, one year shy of 2000 years ago. You know Ovid: he’s the poet who told all those wonderful mythological stories in the Metamorphoses about people turning to stone through divine retribution or bad luck, and even a couple who change from statues into real human people. You know, like the story of Pygmalion, who didn’t like any of the girls in his class so he made a statue of a woman and prayed to the gods that he might love someone like his ivory girl; he kissed the statue and it came to life. What a story!

I might ask, what does a classicist like me, someone who reads mythology and talks to dead guys like Ovid all day long, have to share with you graduates? Continue reading Turning Statues of Stone into Humans with Hearts

Why Is College Valuable?

There has been a big push in the past few years—mostly from politicians, op-ed pundits, and tech venture capitalists—to make sure that college is valuable to students and their communities. This is understandable as the cost of a college degree can be expensive, the last educational investment before launching into a career. So, what makes college valuable? It depends on whom you ask, but not all answers are equally valuable. Continue reading Why Is College Valuable?