James P. Power, Ed.D., was officially installed as the 13th Head of Schools of Culver Academies during a special ceremony in Memorial Chapel Monday evening. The Installation Ceremony was followed by Power welcoming 251 new students to campus during the annual Matriculation Ceremony.
Classes began this (Tuesday) morning with 814 students from 36 states and 22 countries. There are 468 boys and 346 girls.
Speaking at the Installation Ceremony, Miles D. White ’73, Chairman of the Culver Educational Foundation Board of Trustees, said Power had Culver’s “four vital assets” to rely on. First, he pointed to the school’s “versatile, talented, and committed faculty,” who he said will give Power their full support. Second, Culver is also blessed with “engaging and capable students” who are “already distinguished from their peers by their willingness to invest in their futures.”
Third, White said, Culver benefits from parents “who believe in a quality education for their children,” and in many cases are sending their children here “at considerable sacrifice.” Finally, White pointed to an alumni body at Culver “uncommon in its love of alma mater and dedication to what we’re trying to do here.”
Noting Power has the full support of the Board of Trustees, White bestowed the Head of Schools title on Power, adding, “I know this comes as some relief since you’ve already moved into the house.”
Retired Dean Ralph Manuel, who led Culver from 1982 to 1999, and John Buxton, who served as the Head of Schools from 1999 through June of this year, briefly spoke about their tenures and their belief in the Culver ideal.
Manuel said there is a difference between Culver and other boarding schools. “This school, this Culver” builds in students a capacity for commitment to find the best way to use their knowledge to make the school, then their college, their community, and the world a better place.
Buxton added there are many tangible symbols of Culver’s commitment to excellence on campus: the special gates and arches, memorials, benches, boulders, buildings, the seal, and the crest. Every student carries his and her own symbols of achievement and leadership. And the faculty’s academic regalia “reminds us of our external achievements, which have morphed into internal strengths.”
During his remarks, Power told of the impact R.F. Delderfield’s novel To Serve Them All My Days had on him three decades earlier. The story follows a British World War I veteran suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (shell-shock) who is “gradually healed in the process of giving himself” completely to the service of his students at a small boarding school.
To find ourselves we often must lose ourselves in the service of others.
“That theme is often hidden in plain sight,” Power said. “That to find ourselves we often must lose ourselves in the service of others. After reading (that novel), it hit me that no other educational institution has the impact of a boarding school – there’s nothing quite like it.”
Power also emphasized the importance of social skills, values, resilience, and a positive, affirming world view, which can help students and faculty recognize that each has a role in making the world better.
Of critical import, said Power, are relationships, and the sharing of stories.
“I hope we’ll have a chance to share our stories with one another,” he added, referencing an earlier reading at the ceremony from the Book of Isaiah: “Those who renew their hope in the Lord will renew their strength and soar like eagles.”
Power then welcomed the new students to Culver community as they walked through the Logansport Gate at the Matriculation Ceremony. Along with Power, students were greeted by his wife, Mary Power, CGA Dean Lynn Rasch, CMA Commandant Capt. Mike Neller, CGA Senior Prefect Claire Martinez ’17 (Lowell, Ind.) and CMA Regimental Commander Nicholas Cefalu (South Lake Tahoe, Calif.).
A campus landmark, the Logansport Gate was a gift in 1914 from the city of Logansport in gratitude for the rescue efforts provided by the Culver cadets. Passing through the gate represents the beginning of each boy and girl’s Culver experience.
In March 1913, Logansport city officials called upon Culver Military Academy to help rescue residents trapped by the flooded Eel and Wabash rivers. Culver sent a total of 60 cadets, 40 who were experienced in handling the summer Naval School’s four cutters, to take approximately 1,500 people to safety, many of whom were stranded on rooftops and second stories.
Editor’s Note: Publications Manager Jeff Kenney assisted on this story