I spent my undergraduate years basking in the incredible natural and manmade beauty of Berry College in Rome, Georgia. I will never forget the JOY of studying on the world’s largest campus, surrounded by sites so breathtaking that occasionally, even as a green freshman, I would stop in my tracks on a journey across campus and stare, openmouthed, at the afternoon light shimmering off of Swan Lake or, on a cold February morning, gaze entranced out my Dana Hall second-floor, frosted dorm window into the ordered courtyard below and smile as deer delicately ate holly leaves and startling red berries in the snow. I can still hear my young footfalls on the ancient wooden floors of Berry’s gorgeous chapel (modeled after Christ Church in Alexandria Virginia). And here’s where I ate my meals, the Ford Dining Hall:
What fond and HAPPY Berry memories I have. Oh my gosh, that place was magical!
So, of course, I never thought that another school could compare with Berry.
But for the past twenty-four years, I have taught English at Georgia Southern University in Statesboro. When I first arrived, my limited vision focused, uncomfortably, on sand, 100 degree summers and beyond-belief pesky gnats. (Why is that “g” there? Why are gnats ANYWHERE?) “Who could live in this desolate place?” I wondered. But slowly the tall pines and the amazing spring azaleas and (inexplicably) even the hot, humid summers wooed me, and I gradually fell in love. As I adored beautiful Berry as a student, I came to cherish GSU as a professor. The school and the land have been so very good to me.
I have watched GSU’s campus grow and develop into an enclave of living beauty. But far too often, in my busy business of teaching and grading and conferencing, I would forget what thrived outside my office window. So recently I decided to take a leisurely walk across my campus home. Come with me.
Let’s begin at the Akins Blvd. entrance off Veterans Parkway:
The RAC (Recreational Activity Center) where I spent many an hour trying to hold back the belly bulge.
Let’s ride over to the two eagle statues.
Now let’s climb a tree.
Look, I’m an Olympic hero.
Did you know that the “S” in GSU also stands for my last name, Saye?
When I sit down and think about it, I realize how much I have loved this school and this beautiful land.
Georgia Southern University has allowed me to enjoy a great career of helping young people progress and mature into their greater lives. I’ve been involved in a wondrous building process!
I’m so happy that both Berry and Georgia Southern are part of who I am.