A casual photo of Tompkins.

All things exist within “contexts,” though frequently we ignore these situational markers or are ignorant about them. I remember reading, years ago, that Medieval ships were doomed to sail in the safe waters along the coasts of Europe until rope technology had advanced to the point of being able to make really long ropes. Really long ropes could support really high masts and really high masts would allow deep sea travel. Contexts.

This Project is intended to celebrate Stockton University’s 50 years of existence. We intend to organize it around a dozen contexts that have influenced what we were, what we are, and what we will become.

We have chosen the first context – Stockton’s Footprint – because it is the most historical and, therefore, in need of careful preservation. I was told recently that 70% of the faculty here were hired in the last 5 years. One of the results of this fact is that faculty, and of course their students, know almost nothing about the original ideas on which the University was founded. If we believe in the value of our founding ideas, preserving that past is incredibly important.

We intend to view the University in the widest contexts – economic, political, educational, functional, physical, historical and personal – so that the picture of the University is not a blank canvas but, instead, is a detailed painting of the lives of those who arrived here 50 years ago – and in subsequent years – to build a new college.

This Project, then, will be a very large multimedia effort to bring together all of the documents, audio and video files, anecdotes, proposals, budgets, decisions, plans and results from our 50 years so that all of us might have a clearer view of who we are and where we are going.

- Ken Tompkins
Professor Emeritus of Literature, First Dean of General Studies, and Co-Chair of Stockton University's 50th Commemoration Project