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STUDENT URGES INQUISITIVENESS
By Dick Mason
Observer Staff Writer
Jared Wutzke came to a strong conclusion following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
In times of crisis the world looks to educated people for answers, Wutzke realized.
The Eastern Oregon University senior now understands that he has an obligation not only to himself but to society to be a lifelong learner.
Ive slowly come to realize that other than giving money or blood, what I can do in this situation is to be inquisitive. The world looks to us as educated people for answers as to why and how this attack could have occurred, the student said.
It is a great comfort to others when we can provide information about our world that helps them understand.
Wutzke made this point while speaking at Easterns Fourth Annual Fall Academic Convocation Tuesday. He spoke as the recipient of EOUs Phi Kappa Phi student of distinction.
Wutzke and music professor Peter Wordelman, the winner of the universitys distinguished teaching faculty award, were the primary speakers during the program.
Wutzke explained that he served in the military as an Army Ranger for four years before coming to Eastern two years ago.
There is no doubt in my mind that if I had reenlisted, I would be preparing to go to combat rather than standing here talking to you, said Wutzke, who is from Goodrich, N.D.
Wutzke said it would be very clear to him how he could help if he still was in the military. The fact that he is no longer in the service forced him to dig deeper and arrive at the answer of inquisitiveness.
Wutzke emphasized that the obligation to be inquisitive applies not only to the United States current crisis but in all situations.
Whether we are exhibiting the operation of a solar eclipse, showing how an internal combustion engine works or clarifying the teachings of the Koran, our ability to explain the world around us is the mark of the truly learned, said Wutzke, who is majoring in biology and psychology.
Wordelman, the conductor of Easterns chamber choir, told students and faculty that he has been fortunate to find his passion in life. He spent years trying to become a trumpet player before realizing that he was meant to be a
Wordelman wants to help students search for their passions.
I constantly urge students to make sure that they do not let any opportunity of the heart or spirit pass them by, Wordelman said. As this new year goes forth, I would encourage all students to find the passion in their own life and begin the technical and emotional process that allows you to share it with others.
Wordelman also told students that learning goes well beyond the boundaries of a campus.
... Students should know that not all learning will take place in the classroom, the professor said.
Following Wordelmans presentation, EOUs 46-member chamber choir took the stage to perform under his direction. The choir first sang the universitys new school song, Hail, Eastern Oregon, written by music professor John McKinnon; and then America The Beautiful. The choir received a standing ovation.
Wordelman and Wutzke were among many people saluted at Tuesdays convocation. Others recognized at the ceremony included Jim Kreider, director of student activities, who received the 2001 Distinguished Administrative Faculty Award.
Easterns fall convocation is its annual kickoff of the academic year. Fall term classes started Monday at Eastern.