Books That Inspire 2011

The Maytrees
Annie Dillard

The relationship between two human beings is the foundation of the educational enterprise. As an educator, fostering learning through significant relationships has been my focus.

The Maytrees is a powerful and instructive story of relationship. Lou is the spurned first wife. With great persistence, she gradually forgives both her ex-husband and his second wife; until, as they are dying, she becomes caregiver to both. Lou's shocking response is only possible, as she chooses to relinquish self-centeredness.

Dillard's story sparks my imagination for what might be possible in an educational environment where students feel safe to risk themselves. Such an environment will also require relinquishing selfishness, but what might we learn then?

Rhonda Dean Kyncl
Assistant Dean
College of Arts and Sciences