It is a custom at Commencement to salute faculty members who are retiring. So let me invite Ted Wood, Professor of Economics and Business, to the platform.
Ted’s specialty is accounting, and therefore he would insist that any report take honest stock of both losses and gains. We do recognize our loss here today, knowing that you are now leaving us to move to Minnesota, where you can enjoy more of the Vikings’ losses to the Patriots.
But we at Gordon have gained so much from your thirty years of service. Stephen Smith, your department chair, offers the following words of praise:
Ted arrived in the department when it was taking its first baby steps towards adding the business major . . . he was instrumental in building, course by course, first the business and then the accounting majors on campus. . . . His unwavering vision for the role of the liberal arts inside accounting and the contribution of accounting to full Christian vocations has been a lodestar for the department.
Professor Wood has also helped develop our internship and co-operative education program at Gordon. He has faithfully offered tax advice and assistance to international students. And, in the last couple years, he has guided the start-up of a non-profit minor and institute.
Now, I’ve told you that Ted is a good accountant, so he would insist that any assessment of his career include not only a report on his assets but also some mention of what his colleagues consider liabilities.
First, there is his proverbial tendency to run a little late—on “Ted-time,” as his friends say. Don’t worry, he has always had such a high degree of integrity that if he ever arrived a few minutes late to class he would keep the students an extra quarter of an hour to ensure that they got their money’s worth.
Then, there is his tendency to pinch pennies, or to be, in the language of Shakespeare, um, cheap. Call it frugality if you prefer, the spirit of a man with a strong belief in the value of each dollar and the eternal life of old Volkswagens.
And finally there is his over-protectiveness, his conviction that his prime goal, and sometimes his only goal, was to keep students out of the Dean’s Office.
Now, you may be wondering why I thought that it was necessary to take a few jabs at a retiree. Perhaps it would have been best to let a good man go quietly and then get on to my main task, which is to present the distinguished faculty awards.
But, to tell you the truth, that is exactly what I have already started to do.
For I am pleased to announce that the faculty selection committee, after weighing all the assets and liabilities, and surveying the full ledger of nominations from faculty and students, has decided, on balance, to honor a man for his thirty years of dedication, for his long hours and faithfulness, for his candor and collegiality, for his poise and good humor, and for finishing strong, not simply slipping passively into retirement, but using his final years to guide the launch of the new nonprofit minor and institute, to chair the Faculty Welfare Committee, and to prepare accountants who are professionally equipped as well as deeply committed to the highest ethical protocols, by giving the Senior Distinguished Faculty Award of 2011 to Professor of Economics and Business Ted Wood.