by Max Brantley
Hendrix College officials just dropped off a news release about a $3 million Murphy Foundation grant to the Odyssey Professorship Program. The money, one of Hendrix's biggest single gifts, will support supervised off-campus research in six broad categories: artistic creativity, global awareness, professional and leadership development, world service, undergraduate research and special projects. Students are required to complete three Odyssey projects.
Indications are that another big grant is in the immediate offing to support student grants for the program. And President J. Timothy Cloyd indicated other gifts will be announced soon in support of endowed professorships, along with a general fund-raising drive aiming to top $100 million. Then there's the new commercial and residential development that should break ground in October and the nearing completion of a campus fitness center.
A lot is going on at Hendrix. But even Hendrix isn't immune from athletic hubbub. Nothing, I gather, is stirring as much current buzz in the Hendrix community as the college's emerging plans to resume playing football -- at the Division III (non-scholarship) level. If you didn't know, it's essentially a student recruitment tool, a way to build the student body by attracting students who'd like to continue sports in college. If it works right, they pay more money in tuition than the athletic programs cost.