Arts and Entertainment Editor
Tradition has found a way of defining itself in multiple facets at Springfield College.
From Sti-Yu-Ka to the “Birthplace of Basketball” tagline to the idea of not cutting corners, the college is no stranger to preserving images and traditions to unite the campus community and add a draw to it that few other schools can boast.
One tradition that stands out from the rest is Humanics.
A word that cannot be found in the dictionary and induces that squiggly red line when typed in Microsoft Word, humanics is an enigma that the college created. But that word is more than an enigma. It is a treasure. It is service to others, it is that bridge from humane and humanitarian, it is what Springfield College is proud to say it coined—so much so that a nominated professor dedicates a year to the word and how its meaning can leave a footprint on this Earth.
And as quickly as it comes, it goes, as the end of the Distinguished Professor of Humanics term is concluded with the giving of the Humanics lecture in the spring of each academic year. In this time, the Professor of Humanics addresses the school and discusses his or her time making changes this past year and how they have and will continue to encourage humanics on campus and in the community.
Marty Dobrow, the 2014-2015 Distinguished Professor of Humanics, had a few ideas, and he made them clear Tuesday in front of a Fuller Arts Center filled with faculty, staff and students.
The lecture was dedicated largely to the topic of inclusion and how the college can begin and continue to make strides to make the campus as inclusive as possible, a topic Dobrow does not just preach about, but acts upon.
Dobrow was the founder of the recent Tom Waddell Day on campus and is responsible largely for highlighting Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s visit to Springfield and the story behind it.
With this comes the idea that summarized Dobrow’s speech: a statue that symbolizes the college’s devotion to social justice.
The James Naismith statue is one of the most prominent symbols on campus, and one that is fairly synonymous with Springfield College, and Dobrow figures a social justice statue could reach the same prominence.
Following the lecture was the announcement of the 2015-2016 Distinguished Professor of Humanics, Regina Kaufman. Kaufman, a member of the Physical Therapy Department, will be the 42nd member of the college community granted the honor. A member of the Springfield College faculty since 1999, Kaufman will have a year to try her hand at building on the foundation set by her predecessors.
“She will be great,” Dobrow said. “She’s extremely intelligent, very compassionate and an incredibly humane individual.”
Arguably one of the greatest contributions Kaufman has already made is her co-founding of the Stroke Exercise Group with colleague Kimberly Nowakowski. The group not only provides her students with excellent, hands-on experience, but also is a tremendous outreach effort within the Pioneer Valley. The group meets twice a week and helps roughly a dozen stroke victims in the community with their physical therapy. Each member gets one-on-one assistance with a student to help provide the member with flexibility and motion among other things, while the student garners much needed experience within their field.
Springfield College has plenty of aspects to boast about. Some are boasted about more than others, and some have more value than others. Humanics is arguably the highlight of the Springfield College mission. It brings the campus community together, it unites the school with the city, and it builds character and wholesome values into the students, faculty and staff. The Distinguished Professor of Humanics is a remarkable role to garner, and Tuesday’s ceremony showed the effects it has had on the past, is currently having in the present, and will continue to have in the future.