So long, it’s been good to know ya
April 27, 2012
It’s that time of year again when graduating seniors, overwhelmed with finals and their all too quickly approaching future look back wistfully at their time on campus. It is the time when we begin to feel the nostalgia that comes with becoming an alum. It is also the time when senior Courier editors start writing farewell columns to the college that has nurtured us these few years. This year I thought I’d do something a little different.
Why look back, when I can look way back? After all, students have been graduating from Monmouth since the mid-19th century and over the course of those years, Monmouth has developed a rich tradition of education and fond farewells. To honor Monmouth’s tradition I’ve decided to let J. S. Ryder deliver his farewell address on my behalf, an address that was recorded for posterity by an unnamed Courier reporter in 1874:
“But friends and classmates, however pleasant it might be to continue the discussion of a subject like this, we have on this present occasion assembled for a different purpose. We have gathered here to take a last fond look at this beautiful Campus ever which we have delighted to roam in days gone by, and to bid a last formal farewell to these college walls under whose shadows we have been wont to receive instruction and to drink in inspiration from the fountains of perennial truth.
And, although to an uninterested observer, this building may seem important only as it gives character and reputation to the place in which it Is located, to us who have enjoyed the fellowship of these halls, it’s as dear as the house in which we were born. In view of the many lessons of truth and virtue which we have received, have both by precept and example recreant indeed will we be to the claims of honor and gratitude if we fail to keep its memory bright. And in after years when it may be our happy privilege to return anon to this sacred place we feel that it will be with feelings akin to those of the Prodigal when returning to his fathers’s house. And to this same observer our beautiful Campus may appear only as a part of nature’s boundless verdures, to us indeed, it has a tender significance second only to the old homestead and the haunts of our childhood. How often have we felt the freedom of its companionship a balm for the annoyances of toil and the perplexities of study. Like the oasis to the tropical traveler, it has often been to us a refuge from the heat and turmoil of his jostling world; while every tree plant and blade of grass, the mute but eloquent minister of nature bade us take heart again and press on to a higher life.
With such indebtedness charged to our account, is it strange then, that the present should be a time of sad and touching interest? The word farewell spoken at any time and under any circumstances is indeed a sad one, but on the present occasion when this one naught but pleasant associations and sweet fellowship to be remembered is especially so.
We hear the tones of the Old Familiar as it swells upon the air. It comes sad and mournfully to the class of ’74. It tells us to look back o’er the past, to profit by its mistakes and to act wiser in the future. It tells us that the last hour, the last moment of our college life has come that the last look must be taken, that the last word must be spoken, that we must say farewell, and separate—separate never more to meet this side of eternity.
We say to thee again:
I couldn’t have said it better myself.