Like many busy contemporary families, weekends at my house are less about relaxing and more about preparation and planning for the week ahead. Are the socks cleaned and paired, the permissions slipped signed and enough gallons of milk purchased? Are people getting homework done, teens taking enough showers and all probable carpools/schedule hiccups/special events of the week noted with precision on the large kitchen calendar?
On campus – right this minute – there’s a similar feeling (x 500 million!) of preparation, but not just for a typical week ahead. No, the planning and polishing is for something BIG. Something HUGE. Something so fantastic it, indeed, commands the loving attention of hundreds of staff, faculty and students and 500 million little details.
On Wednesday and Thursday, we will come together as a community to pay homage to the generous, gracious donors who make St. Thomas, as we know it today, possible. Preparations for two celebrations of the $500 million Opening Doors capital campaign – Wednesday evening with donors and over the noon hour on Thursday with students, faculty and staff – have been underway for many months. Yet it’s the palpable feeling during these last days of polish that make me as giddy as a kid anticipating Santa Claus.
If you work or live on campus, you might have noticed a few of the loving details being readied before the doors open at 6 p.m. Wednesday for the donors’ event:
- Award-winning choirs being assembled for a few last practices
- Scripts being tweaked and checked
- A field house being transformed into the likes of a grand ballroom (how do they do that?)
- Videos being polished
- High-tech sound systems being assembled
- Costumes being fit
- A few last-minute hems being stitched
- Flowers being arranged
- Silver being polished
- Skits being practiced (did I see juggling?)
- Dancers being coached
- And many people – everyone I know – getting excited to honor donors who give generously and make our campus a beautiful, prestigious and awe-inspiring place to study, work, do good, think critically and shape lives.