Jessica Atkinson, Class of 2009

After a recent move, I unpacked a box of memories: some old, some new. I removed a picture frame and an envelope from the carefully stacked items. As I looked through the envelope of photographs, I laughed to myself and appreciated the reminder that each picture provided of the moments I would never forget. I stared at a picture from a chant skit night that seemed to be ages ago. The best part about homecoming was chant-skit night with my sisters, followed by the bonfire and hot chocolate. The envelope became home to many pictures featuring costumed Eureka students. Following chant-skit night pictures were those of homecoming parades and late-night breakfasts.

Of the organizations in which I participated, my favorite was Delta Zeta. Greek life was a significant part of the student population living on campus. It was a great way to interact with and meet other students, as well as form valuable relationships. There will always be moments in college that are unforgettable. Late night Steak-N’-Shake trips were always a fun way to end an evening, especially after a long chapter meeting. I-Week, bid night, and the start of each weekend are a few of the many memories from college that I will always carry with me.

Our lounge and basement were always the most popular places for us to study when nearing finals and midterms. We developed a strong cohort that could balance the excitements of college along with its stress and responsibilities. I was always academically challenged while underneath the elms. Some coursework was easier than others, but professors challenged students to reach beyond the information in the textbooks. Projects and papers allowed us to build our knowledge on various topics, rather than regurgitate information from a book. Professor Logsdon assigned papers that required us to develop a central argument from various ideas from our readings. Professor Rubash encouraged us to be creative as we explored the world of business. Professor Tolliver sparked our interest in the world around us with hands-on experiences around campus and informative class lectures and discussions. Our cohorts helped us to achieve success with ongoing support and teamwork. We studied together, completed projects together, and challenged each other in classroom debates.

Part of my memories of Eureka are the experiences that I had with my professors, as I appreciate the experience that each professor has given me. One of my professors, however, was a rare find; the type of professor that inspirational quotes describe. Throughout my years as a student, I’ve had teachers that I adored and respected. Until Eureka, I never had a teacher that was so inspiring that I am constantly at a loss for words when trying to describe how wonderful my experience was and is.

I transferred to Eureka and was required to take two Western Civilization courses. Professor Logsdon was highly recommended, and before the end of my first class, I found out why. I never left the classroom without learning something. From the brief description that I was given of the course, my initial perception was that it was a typical liberal arts class to fulfill my requirement at a liberal arts college. After the first day, my insight was already expanding. Western Civ was more than a liberal arts requirement; Professor Logsdon brought humor to the material and presented it in a way that spoke to each of us. Because of his passion and enthusiasm to educate students, I fell in love with writing styles and material that I would never have read otherwise. Even after leaving the elms and halls of Eureka, I have referenced ideas and material from his class.

As previously mentioned, I cannot put into words how much I appreciate having had this phenomenal person as an educator. He is the kindest person that I have ever met, and I give him my utmost respect. He is the perfect example of the spirit of Eureka: caring, supportive, exceptional. Moreover, the spirit of Eureka is special because it connects with the spirit of the students and the faculty. Eureka is a small family. The professors and students care about each other in a way that is unfathomable at larger schools. I came from a state school before enrolling at Eureka; I was a number. My professors were never able to learn my name, because they had 2000 other students to teach. At Eureka, I had a name and a relationship with students, faculty, and administration. I chose Eureka, because close relationships are more important than so many other things that a large school can offer. The supportive atmosphere is and was incomparable.

The envelope of my college photographs rests in a sealed box, although I carry my memories with me everyday. The spirit of Eureka and the values that the professors and administration have installed in students is something that enables us to thrive in our careers and lives. Eureka will always be full of memories, and I encourage new generations of students to create their own experiences and memories to carry with them throughout their lives.

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