During inaugural week, Lyndon State College's new president, Dr. Joe Bertolino, presented a lively sketch he and his partner have performed all over the country entitled "When Gays Move into Mr. Roger's Neighborhood." Dr. Bertolino did a one man version of the presentation at the college on April 15 as a part of the week long celebration of his inauguration. The presentation was billed as a "funny, interactive, and challenging program to get today's college students thinking about important "community issues" such as diversity appreciation, homophobia, and heterosexism."
The presentation was spirited and enlightening. Dr. Bertolino's theme was that we need be inclusive and tolerant of people who are different from ourselves--to get to know people for who they are so that myths and stereotypes can be dispelled. That is a superb goal, and Dr. Bertolino should be commended for having the courage to bring the issue of intolerance before the community in such a public way. By dong this, he is fulfilling the highest calling of an educator.
Tolerance and respect for people of different backgrounds and perspectives are lessons our children ought to be learning all their lives, and particularly when they enter the world of post secondary education. Academia is where our children should be exposed to different ideas and viewpoints, because that exposure fosters critical thinking skills so important to a meaningful and productive life.
President Bertolino has just hired Dr. Kellie Bean as LSC's new provost. A provost is the senior academic administrator of an institution of higher learning. It is the second most powerful position in the college.