Thinking Out Loud: The Magic of Summer

To the Case Western Reserve University Community:

I’m feeling a bit like Nick Carraway in The Great Gatsby these days. “And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer," he famously declared in the first chapter of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s great novel. 

Summer has always been a magical time for me—the anticipation of new experiences, sunny skies, and lazy days spent with friends and family making me feel alive and free. Given the strange summer we had in 2020, the promise of summer seems especially alluring this year. In fact, my excitement for the summer months ahead has brought back many fond memories of summers past. 

One of my happiest summers must have been when I was 8 or 9 years old and raking clams on Long Beach Island in New Jersey. I would spend hours in the bay, completely immersed in my task, and later sell the clams I had dug up out of a bucket on the side of the street. I loved being out in the bay by myself, and there was nothing better than heading back to the beach after my work for the day was done to play in the sand and throw myself into the waves. Now that I’m thinking about it, I have to say that running my own clamming business was the best job I ever had.  

Not every summer job I had fulfilled me the way my clamming days had. However, whether I was working as a caddy on the golf course, a mailroom runner for a large corporation in New York City, a landscaper for wealthy families in New Jersey, or a short order cook when I was in college, there was always something to be learned and someone interesting to meet. And somehow, there were always enough hours left in the day for fun adventures. 

I hope that all of you will find a rewarding balance between work and leisure this summer. As my interim presidency draws to a close, I, for my part, can’t wait to be out on my boat fishing (even though I rarely catch anything) and going for walks on the beach. I want to make memories with the people I care about most and am looking forward to having plenty of time to read, think, and write while planning the next chapter of my life. I may even start clamming again!

This summer should be a time for reflection, renewal, and giving thanks for what we have. To channel F. Scott Fitzgerald once more: May life begin all over again!

Keep thinking, be well, and have a wonderful summer,

Cursive signature that reads "Scott" for Case Western Reserve Interim President Scott Cowen

Scott Cowen
Interim President