As they embark on a new academic year, Emory & Henry students were encouraged Tuesday evening to seek solutions by asking the right questions.
Dr. Ed Damer, the E&H philosophy professor encouraging students to remain inquisitive, has spent most of his career asking questions, including questions that sometime irritated authority.
Damer, who has taught at Emory & Henry since 1967, earned some time in the national spotlight at a very young age as a result of the questions he posed.
While serving as student body president at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Damer led a campus boycott in response to the firing of a professor on the grounds that he was interpreting incorrectly the Old Testament. National media covered the firing as Damer and his fellow students questioned the administration's right to judge others' interpretations of the Bible.
Although the students lost the battle to reinstate the professor, Damer won praise from his father for having the courage to question authority. And he found through the experience a motivation to pursue a study of philosophy and a lifetime of questioning.
"I confess that I am a gadfly," Damer said, as he shared with students the reasons for asking the right questions and leading an "examined life." Those reasons include, among others, finding solutions to problems, resolving disputes and respecting the knowledge of those who can answer questions.
Approximately 500 students, faculty members and staff members attended the annual convocation ceremony, which included the granting of awards to four E&H professors (view photos). Dr. Robert Pour, a math professor, received the E&H Travel Grant in recognition of his long service to the institution; Dr. Eugene Rasor, professor emeritus of history, was honored with the E&H Maiden Award in recognition of exceptional achievements and distinctive contributions to the College; and Drs. Jack Wells, history professor, and Michael Lane, chemistry professor, were awarded the Exemplary Teaching Award, which is given each year by the United Methodist Church in honor of outstanding teaching.