Mark: my words

Mark: my words is a blog penned by President Mark Putnam meant to encourage civil discourse, explore important issues, and stimulate creativity and innovation. Created in 2010, many blog entries make their way into new and traditional media outlets. Members of the Central College family, higher education professionals, students and casual readers have used the blog to teach, start conversations and reflect on life patterns.

Bigger, Faster, Cheaper

As a young kid, the emerging fast-food restaurant was a marvel. Predictable food I liked (a lot…in fact, too much), could be packaged and presented to me in a convenient manner, and was cheap enough that my Mom found it less of a hassle than making me lunch. Could it get any better than this?


Don’t Jump Off the Sled

There was a small town park that was wide open to the river and yet had a nice steep hill set well back from the river’s edge. It was perfect for sledding. It was a not a long slope. The elevation dropped quickly and then provided a flat area for draining the momentum of the ride.


The Elephant in the Room

Most are familiar with the old story known commonly as “The Blind Men and the Elephant.” The tale is traced to the Indian Subcontinent from where it spread across many regions, cultures and religious traditions. Much later it was popularized in a poem by the 19th century American poet John Godfrey Saxe I (June 2, 1816 – March 31, 1887) bringing the story more prominently into the narrative of western culture as well.


Winning at Whac-A-Mole

Hit well, and life will reward you; miss, and there are sanctions. It’s simply reality.


A Meeting With Citizens

We make government work. He suggested that what we do in the roles we play is the essence of democracy. His words penetrated through the necessary articulation of rules of governance to remind me of the role of citizen. With a new frame of reference, I began to interpret the comments each of the speakers offered with greater attention to the role, rather than the rule.


A Vaccine to Cure A Shortsighted Society

We are an impatient society. Perhaps it has always been so, but as I read about our history I continue to be impressed by the foresight and commitment of leaders who assumed they were building for something more than their immediate needs and interests.


Repacking Your Bags

Arrogance is short-lived in travel, however. We all remember times when we wished we prepared differently for circumstances we didn’t fully understand.


The Heart of the Matter

Could we, in 2013, articulate the deep philosophical notions embedded in the Declaration of Independence, the United States Constitution, and the Bill of Rights? Would it be possible for a national leader to step forward in a time of great grief and tragedy and craft the mournful and yet healing words for the Gettysburg Address? Would there be sufficient depth of understanding about literature, history and culture for an activist to expand our vision of the future through an “I Have a Dream” speech?


Keeping Them Out of the Ditch

I typically say something encouraging as they approach me to help them focus on the task at hand. For some this is important advice as I often see wide eyes watering and feel a sweaty palm grasping for mine. Others relish the moment in the spotlight so much that they nearly forget to receive the diploma.


The Time Given To Us

We carry the burden of the times we live in and the circumstances set before us. We can only succeed with the help and support of our companions on the journey.


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