A Look Back, A Look Forward…



Sometimes it’s amazing how looking back at an old newspaper can change the way we read a new one. In the homecoming edition of the 1945 Concordian, the editorial was not about homecoming festivities, or even about daily cobber life. Rather, on the heels of World War II, the opinion of the publication was that cobbers had a responsibility to bring the hopeful vision for life in peacetime to fruition. “The postwar world for which men planned is here with the promise of astounding advances in a world freed from the terrors of near-destruction…” the editor wrote. “Now these words must be backed with action.”

It’s probably safe to say that cobbers have been taking action ever since. This year, the class of 1961 joins the “golden cobbers” as they celebrate their 50th reunion. Members of that class may have been among the first cobbers to join the Peace Corps, which was  established in March of that year. In many ways, 1961 itself was an action-packed year: the United States was in the throes of the Civil Rights Movement and the Cold War. By the end of the year, we were in Vietnam.

It would be interesting to see if the kinds of action that cobbers have undertaken since 1945 are what the author of that editorial had in mind. We’ve certainly come a very long way since World War II. In many ways, we’ve probably succeeded in helping to make the world a better place. But certainly not all of our actions in the postward world have been positive–and we must take responsibility for those too.

We don’t talk about the “postwar world” anymore. If we use language like that at all, we call the place we live today the “post-9/11 world.” Our new term may not carry with it the same promise as the old (in fact, it probably carries for most people the undertones of threat), but the responsibilities remain the same for current and past cobbers.

The editors of the 1945 Concordian called cobbers to become “real instruments in the building of a better world.” Some things never change. Whether it’s post-World War II or post-9/11, the world could probably always be better. And we’re the only ones who can make that happen.


Happy Homecoming,

Mary Beenken, Editor-in-Chief


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