As the first full day of classes for the 2016-17 academic year came to a close, Dr. John Wells invited the student body to strive for an examined life.
Wells, who serves as the provost and dean of faculty, spoke to a capacity crowd at the Woodrow W. McGlothlin Center for the Arts. In his speech, Wells spoke of the value of a liberal arts education at a time in history where there is a “dire need of it in the broader culture.”
His speech, entitled “An Invitation into the Examined Life,” was centered around the famous statement uttered by Socrates at his trial for impiety and corrupting youth that the unexamined life is not worth living.
Wells said that to the live an examined life we must be willing to ask questions, engage in life with a depth of humility about our views, while understanding that we might very well be lonely in this process.
The examined life is one that requires much from us, and yet the rewards are deep and meaningful. Dr. John Wells Provost and Dean of Faculty
Prior to his arrival at Emory & Henry in June of 2017, Wells served as associate general secretary for the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry of the worldwide United Methodist Church and as executive secretary of the National Association of Schools and Colleges of the United Methodist Church. He served from 2009 to 2016 as executive vice president and chief academic officer at Mars Hill University in western North Carolina, where he provided oversight of the divisions of enrollment, academics, student development and student success. Wells earned a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Tennessee. He also holds a master’s degree in political science from UT and a bachelor’s degree in history from Carson-Newman University. Wells has long enjoyed connections to Emory & Henry. His father, the late Reverend William R. Wells, was a 1959 graduate of the College. His grandmother, Annie Bradner Wells, once served as dorm mother for Hillman Hall.
The ceremony included awards for members of the faculty and staff, including the college travel grant, given to Dr. Ben Letson, associate professor of philosophy.
Other award recipients included Dr. Celeste Gaia, professor of psychology and director of international education, who was honored with the Exemplary Teaching Award given by the General Board of Higher Education Ministry of the United Methodist Church. Dr. Melissa Taverner, associate professor of biology, and Bufford Doss, groundskeeper, both of whom won the Earnest E. and Elizabeth C. Maiden Award. Dr. Joseph Reiff, professor of religion, was presented the Finch Award for faculty excellence.