True Fact: A black bear wandered onto the campus of Dartmouth College on July 9th and spent a couple of peaceful hours there before making its way back into the woods.
Inspired by this charming episode, the school plans to fence off a grazing area on its campus quad for use by retired faculty in the fall of 2020.
According to Dartmouth President Philip Hanlon, “many of our professors emeriti don’t know what to do with themselves during the day. They rattle around the house annoying their spouses, hunker down in front of the TV and yell at President Trump, or sit alone at Dunkin’ Donuts for hours nursing a single cup of Metamucil-laced coffee and a tofu/kelp cruller. These folks should be outside, getting some exercise, and socializing with their peers. That’s where Professors’ Meadow comes in.
“We’re going to place coin-operated M&M dispensers around the perimeter of the quad, so that visitors can hand-feed these faculty if they wish. Most of our retired professors are gentle, but a few can be feisty and disruptive, so a couple of campus police officers, equipped with tranquilizing darts, will be stationed at Professors’ Meadow from 7:00 am to 5:00 pm every day. Ginger, our resident Border Collie, will shepherd the retirees into shuttle vans at the end of the day for the ride home.
“Very few of our students have ever seen a professor emeritus, so it will be a wonderful opportunity for them to encounter these individuals in a controlled environment. They may even hear a snippet of a lecture now and then, as a retiree attempts to educate Ginger about the origins of the Boer Wars.
“If all goes well, we will begin seeking national accreditation from AAUP as an Emeritus Petting Zoo in Spring 2021. It’s a grueling, 3-year process, but we want only the best for those professors who have faithfully served Dartmouth College over the decades.”
Who says you can’t find a feel-good story in the midst of a pandemic?