As the academic year comes to an end, many things come to a close. Finals represent the end of classes, sports teams find themselves wrapping things up until next year and Naomi Graves’ time as the 2011-2012 Distinguished Springfield Professor of Humanics is ending. Before stepping down, though, Graves made her lasting impression on Tuesday with her presentation at Springfield College’s annual Humanics Lecture.
Held in the Fuller Arts Center, the Humanics Lecture was well attended by Springfield College dignitaries, such as Vice President of Student Affairs, Dean of Students David Braverman and 16 of the 38 previous Distinguished Springfield Professors of Humanics.
Graves, who wears multiple hats on the Springfield College campus as both a professor and a head coach, focused her presentation around both, with an emphasis on the latter. The lecture was titled “They Call Me ‘Coach’: The Role of the Teacher-Coach in the Stewardship of Humanics.”
Graves began her presentation by recalling her arrival at Springfield College in 1983 to begin her graduate work. Graves also cited that she was impressed by everyone’s willingness to say “hello” to one another, as she had just graduated from a larger university where saying “hello” to strangers wasn’t the social norm. The one aspect of greeting one another that impressed Graves the most was how coaches were acknowledged by those around them.
“It became very apparent to me that there was clearly something special about being called ‘Coach’ on the campus of Springfield College. Being called ‘coach’ implied that this role carried a sense of respect, admiration, prestige, [and] honor from all levels of the campus community,” said Graves.
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Graves, the women’s head basketball coach and an assistant professor of physical education, spoke of how today’s society is influenced by technology and how one’s performance is measured simply by the amounts of wins and losses they accumulate. Graves believes that those who follow the Humanics philosophy hold dear the Teacher-Coach role, which goes beyond records and results.
“Coaches wear many hats at Springfield College that you don’t see. We are counselors, we are researchers, we are advisors, we are mentors, we are psychologists, we are leaders in our academic and coaching roles, we are authors, we are fundraisers and those are just a few roles that I can think of off the top of my head,” said Graves. “The most important hat is this; for many of us, we are considered family members to the student athletes that we come in contact with. The impact that we make on our students and our athletes at the college and in the community is immeasurable.”
Graves also emphasized how coaches can instill the Humanics philosophy into the student athletes on their respective sports teams. She even had 14 men’s and women’s varsity teams on the Springfield College campus show how they best exemplify Humanics through video montages, where each team had to talk about the top 10 ways they portray the values best. Some of the more frequent values listed included pride, determination, volunteering and respect.
“I told these athletes that I have this moment in time to tell people [at the lecture] something, and one of them raised their hand and said ‘That we are committed and that we really care’,” said Graves. “So I think that’s pretty impressive for our future leaders to be able to say that and demonstrate some of the things that we did.”
During her lecture, Graves also spoke of how everyone can spread the message about Humanics to inform those who don’t know about the philosophy by wearing shirts she had made for the occasion. The shirts, yellow with red lettering, read “Ask me about Humanics” on the front, and hold a slogan on the back with a logo that emphasizes Springfield College. The slogan, “It’s not about me, it’s about we” reiterates the importance of sharing the Humanics lifestyle with others. The slogan surrounds a logo of 10 people that form a triangle with one person representing a leader talking about Humanics and spreading the word to others.
To conclude, Graves read a poem that has inspired her in the past, Living A Life That Matters by Michael Josephson. The poem itself states itself that “It will not matter what you owned or what you were owed,” but that “What will matter is not your competence, but your character.”
After the conclusion of Graves’ lecture, Jean Wyld, the vice president for academic affairs, announced Charles “Chuck” Reddington as the Distinguished Springfield Professor of Humanics for the 2012-2013 academic year. Reddington himself was absolutely flattered by the honor, and puts it in high standing among his other career achievements.
“I was dumbfounded when the dean called me,” said Reddington. “It’s probably a culmination of all that I’ve put forth into this college over the last 43 years, and to be recognized for it is probably the greatest compliment in my entire life.”
Reddington hasn’t said exactly what he will focus his lecture on for next year. He hinted that there will be an emphasis on the environment. Meanwhile, as Graves’ year comes to an end, her year will be remembered for her significance towards Humanics, as she joins a long line of Distinguished Professors who have done wonders for extending the message of spirit, mind and body.