Concordia College’s 37th Annual Community Dinner was a celebration of community, the substantive contributions of Ellen and Pierre de Saint Phalle, and the power of poetry.
Ellen’s lifelong love for and advocacy of poetry inspired a Community Dinner unlike any other. Concordia Professor of English Dr. Alison Matika read two poems from Elizabeth Bishop, one of Ellen’s favorite poets, Filling Station and One Art. Dr. Matika then introduced two students from her honors poetry seminar: Lexi Murdock and Chandhini Kannan, who read their own works. Lexi’s poems, My Father’s Hands and Thirteen Ways of Looking at My Screen, honored her father’s sacrifice and pondered the bond between people and their phones. Chandhini’s Indian Train Home offered a series of vivid images captured on the train to her home in Chennai.
Concordia’s President Dr. John A. Nunes, himself a lover of poetry, was delighted at the opportunity to recite Love After Love by Derek Walcott, the poet who was the subject of his doctoral dissertation.
Upon receiving their President’s Award for Excellence in Service to the Community, Pierre spoke of the ways community service makes us all better, and Ellen expanded on the vital role that liberal arts institutions like Concordia College play in our community.
The evening ended with more student voices, this time heard in Concordia’s video Where Worlds Meet, which features students explaining the many ways that Concordia’s vibrant diversity, global outlook and small size have made an impact on their education.