Jan 2017 - Sep 2018
Module four brought the EMBA-J17 cohort back to Oxford (we were abroad last module) – and for this I am quite thankful. I am continually reminded that I am fortunate to be a part of this cohort and a part of the greater Oxford University family. These two realities stand out at this very moment, as so much has been happening around us this week in Oxford.
This week (I am mid-module as I write), one of the members of our cohort could not be with us, as his father is ill, potentially terminally. To witness the support he is receiving from his study group is special. In several past blogs written by some of my peers, they have written about such things as making 67 new friends and the relationships that have developed in a short period of time. It has been demonstrated this week that these are not merely platitudes. What we are developing amongst our group will last a lifetime. Our national and ethnic differences are superseded by our common humanity. This is amazing to be a part of.
I am a devoutly religious person. I lead a faith-based (Christian) school in the United States. Likewise, there are other devoutly religious people in our group as well – Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish, and Christian – and others who may not ascribe to any particular faith. Again, it has been marvelous to see the commonality of our humanity despite these and other differences. Last month I had the chance to speak to my students in Chapel. I told them how blessed I was to study at Oxford and how this opportunity has opened the world to me and enabled me to learn along with a group of individuals who I believe were all created in the imago dei – the image of God. I had the chance to reinforce the responsibility we therefore all have to love one another, despite our differences. In Christianity, we refer to this as Common Grace. Oxford has firmly reinforced this perspective within me. It also reinforced that each member of my cohort is truly something special and not to be taken for granted.
Being back on campus this week, I have also been particularly struck by how privileged I am to be a part of the larger Oxford family. The University of Oxford is remarkable for so many reasons. Sure, it is the #1 ranked university in the world, but once you are here, you gain an understanding of why this ranking is so accurate. Over time, as you learn more about all that goes on here and the nearly 1000 year history of the institution. The tradition, the ritual, and the teaching and learning are unlike any education in the world. The professors (James Taylor, Mungo Wilson, etc.) are collectively better than any place I have studied. Likewise, I have never worked harder, despite having spent a large percentage of my life in college and graduate school. The education is unparalleled, the resources are bountiful, and the connections are exceptional. Each of these will serve to benefit each one of us in our lives to come after Oxford.
I look forward to the remainder of the week and to the coming year and a half as I complete this degree. In so doing, may I never forget to be thankful for that which I have been given through this opportunity. But, then, how could that ever be possible?Back to top of article