Announcements News

May 7, 2015 at 5:05 pm

Crowl to Graduates: Don’t Try to ‘Out-Anticipate Life’

Ohio University Professor Samuel Crowl, Ph.D. delivers the commencement address during the afternoon Undergraduate Commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 2, 2015. Photo by Ohio University / Rob Hardin

Ohio University Professor Samuel Crowl, Ph.D. delivers the commencement address during the afternoon Undergraduate Commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 2, 2015. Photo by Ohio University / Rob Hardin

From Compass

Dr. Samuel Crowl, Ohio University Trustee Professor of English, was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters at Ohio University’s May 2 afternoon Commencement ceremony.

Crowl was also the commencement speaker, and he touched upon the history of Ohio University and how alumni carry on the traditions set forth by OHIO’s first class exactly 200 years ago. In a sense, Crowl said, alumni belong to their college, and OHIO alumni “belong to a good one made special by the affection in which it is held by its graduates.”

‘Brick Streets, Gentle Hills … and a Mighty Thirst for Knowledge and Green Beer’

“You have all learned some of the qualities and textures of the good life in your years here: brick streets, gentle hills, an opening to all of life, and a mighty thirst for knowledge and green beer,” Crowl said to laughs from the crowd. “Something in the casual, informal interaction between faculty and students creates an unusual atmosphere on this campus.”

Crowl shared the story of Manasseh Cutler’s role in the passing of the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 and, in turn, the founding of Ohio University. He described Cutler’s vision for a university and his foresight in seeing that education would be crucial to the success of democracy and the nation as it expanded westward.

“You, and your university, are a product of Cutler’s visionary spirit,” Crowl said. “Carry it proudly with you as you move out into the world from this historic and handsome campus.”

A noted Shakespeare scholar and expert, Crowl fittingly concluded his address with one of the playwright’s most famous lines, encouraging the graduates to join in a chorus of, “To be or not to be? That is the question.”

That famous metaphysical inquiry is actually answered by Hamlet, Crowl explained, in a conversation with Horatio later in the play.

“What Hamlet has come to understand is that he’s been tying himself into knots trying to out-anticipate life,” Crowl said. “Don’t try to wrestle a sea of troubles into submission simply by the power of your own ego as it can respond with a powerful undertow. … Find the rhythm for you. Go with the flow. And when the flow turns in your direction, seize the day. The readiness is all. Let be.”

Honorary Degree Recognizes 44 Years of Service to OHIO

The honorary degree recognizes his 44 years of service as a beloved professor, a devoted ambassador and a driving force behind many of the university’s institutional improvements. Crowl spoke at the commencement for 1,693 graduates from the Honors Tutorial College, the Center for International Studies, the College of Health Sciences and Professions, the Patton College of Education and the College of Arts & Sciences.

Over the course of his esteemed career, Crowl has published six books and more than 40 articles and essays on stage and screen productions of Shakespeare’s works. In addition, he has engaged in many international teaching engagements, research projects, professorships and conferences, including the World Shakespeare Congress, the Shakespeare Institute, the International Globe Center, the Folger Shakespeare Library and the Columbia University Shakespeare seminar.

As the dean of OHIO’s University College, Crowl received the Program Excellence Award from the Ohio Board of Regents in 1990 for designing and implementing general education requirements that remain a part of the foundation of an Ohio University education. He has twice been selected by students for the prestigious University Professor Award for excellence in teaching. In addition, Crowl and his wife, Susan Crowl, were honored in 2007 with the founding of a funded professorship in their name.

“Your commitment to Ohio University’s student-centered learning community is evidenced by the progress achieved under your guidance,” said Pam Benoit, executive vice president and provost. “Your leadership as chair of Faculty Senate led to the passage of resolutions that established University College as we know it today. As dean of University College, you worked to further elevate the college’s status, while designing and implementing general education requirements that continue to serve as the blueprint for an Ohio University education.”

Benoit noted that beyond Crowl’s esteemed scholarship as an internationally recognized authority on Shakespeare, his greatest contribution to the OHIO community has been his impact on the lives of students and graduates.

“Your unwavering leadership, acclaimed scholarship and engaged teaching have earned you utmost distinction within the Ohio University community and the broader literary community,” Benoit said. “The scope of your service speaks to your profound love of learning and differentiates your career as one to be remembered.”


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