reporter contents | albright college home

message from the president

The Heart of Albright

We had an unfortunate incident on campus a couple of weeks ago, an event that my public relations office certainly wishes had never happened.

One of our grounds crew just happened to look down into a heavily wooded ravine at the very edge of campus and discovered a body.

The discovery was a great shock to the campus. The police quickly determined that the individual was not known to Albright and that there had been no foul play. Our first priority was to communicate this and allay the fears of the campus community, particularly our students, and to assure them that there was no danger.

After communicating with students, faculty and staff, and staving off the media, we began to learn more. The victim was an unidentified homeless man who had taken shelter in the ravine, far out of sight of the Albright Woods residence halls. He had a small stove under a tarp. The police report says he apparently had an accident with the stove and died of burns and smoke inhalation. He had been dead for a month, they said.

Long before we learned his name, however, something special happened on campus. An e-mail went out to everyone from Chaplain Cathie Kelsey, inviting everyone to a memorial service. She created an opportunity for us to take a few minutes to acknowledge the life and death of a nameless man who lived out of our sight, but whom she called "our neighbor."

By the next morning at the time of the service we did know his name. Craig Richards, age 43, was identified from medical records.

Students, faculty and staff attended the service. They lit candles and some stood up to speak. They expressed their well wishes for Craig Richards and his unknown family. They spoke out about the plight of homelessness, and about how we are all essentially homeless on this earth. They said how tragically sad it was that no one could help Craig Richards because no one even knew he was there.

To me this story says something very important about Albright.

Although as a very diverse community, we do not always agree on everything, we at Albright somehow always agree on the essence of what we are. Every single day I see individuals seeking opportunities to demonstrate those qualities that anchor Albright -- compassion for others, a desire to be of service to each other and to the community outside our doors. In our mission statement, it’s called "values." I prefer to call it the heart of Albright, or simply, Albright. And it is the essence of this special place upon which I know we will continue to build.

Henry A. Zimon

Go Lions!

reporter contents | albright college home