“26.2”

Methodist University

I’ve run a marathon. The exhilarating feeling you have when you see that finish line in front of you—the sense of accomplishment that you have met a remarkable personal goal. The last thing that is on your mind is that someone would harm you. And the fact that you are so mentally focused, and physically and emotionally exhausted, means that you are also so vulnerable.

Two of my children are runners and have participated in many marathons. In fact, one has actually run the Boston Marathon and knows every turn, every crack in the pavement, every excruciating moment along those 26.2 miles that define the city.

My daughter lives and works in Boston. She called us yesterday to tell us she was okay. Still, I wish I were there to give her a big hug. I texted her today and told her I loved her.

My story is not unique. I am sure there are many who have loved ones affected by Monday’s tragedy in Boston. Many others have run marathons—Boston and otherwise—and share similar feelings. And yes, as far away as Fayetteville, North Carolina, and on the campus of Methodist University, we make adjustments, we cope, we pray for those who are suffering, and we appropriately change our priorities.

Late today, we received a message on behalf of Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN chief medical correspondent, indicating that he would have to postpone his visit to Methodist to be our guest for tomorrow’s inaugural Presidential Speaker Series. Dr. Gupta is where he needs to be, and where all Americans should be focused, in Boston, trying to help a nation make sense out of a senseless act.

The reason Dr. Sanjay Gupta was chosen as our first Presidential Series Speaker is the same reason he had to postpone his visit to campus tomorrow; it is because of his ability to tell the story in a way that helps us understand what is happening, as if he were right in our living room talking to us.

We were hoping to have Dr. Gupta in Methodist University’s “living room” tomorrow night. For now, we’ll share him with millions of Americans who need him more than we do. And we’ll pray for his safe passage until he joins us, along with the victims and their families and friends in Boston. We will give our thanks for those who help us understand, whether they are journalists who relate to their audiences or Methodist University faculty who relate to our students.

26.2 – it will from now on mean more than a race. It will remind us of a tragedy, but more importantly, it will remind us, as such races were designed to do, of the resilience of the human spirit. It will remind us of our ability to endure so much more than we ever imagined we could, to heal thanks to the strength and support of others, and to move forward to race another day.

My thoughts and prayers to all members of the Methodist University community,

Ben Hancock
President

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