Reflections on the Ungar era and the departure of our “homeboy”

Jonathan Trauner
Staff Writer

Sanford J. Ungar – named Goucher’s 10th President in 2001 – embodies what our school, global Goucher network and distinguished alums aspire to dearly. Every day I wake up and live the collegiate life, I ask myself, “What advice would Sandy give me today? Should I follow my heart in my goals and pursuits, even in times of controversy?”
This week, I have been having extreme difficulty trying to put my emotions of Sandy leaving into words. His aura has touched so many lives.  Without him, few of us would be serving our world with an open heart. He teaches us that none of us is too small or insignificant to make a difference.  While Sandy will not be our president next year, his legacy as a journalist, volunteer, and speaker will always live on.
In 2006, Sandy helped Goucher College become the global influence and lifelong learning atmosphere it is today by instituting the study abroad requirement. As a free speech advocate and Frontiers professor, he always challenges his students to think outside the box and speak what is on their minds. With this quality, he helped many of his colleagues tackle difficult world issues head on and write about their passions, even if they stir up controversy.
I love our study abroad policy, which stands in a class all its own. Each program offered here, whether it is Middle Eastern Politics in Israel or English Literature at Oxford University, presents the valuable opportunity of culture shock and interpersonal volunteerism that few institutions can offer. Learning about a new culture and community allows for students to grow in diversity and grow beyond traditional schooling. From these experiences, we can learn to give back together and serve with the goodwill and heart everyone can make a difference, big or small. Sandy was the one who instituted the vital program. Although he too is an integral part of our community, I do not see Sandy’s departure as the end of the tight knit community he has helped to foster here at Goucher.
I see Sandy’s leaving as a gateway for Goucher students to reacquaint themselves with a quality they know well: resilience. Sandy knows that in the face of uncertainty and discourse, we will all stand tall and united. Thirteen years have come and gone. People and places have changed and moved along. During my freshman year, I remember quite fondly meeting Sandy at Kraushaar Auditorium for Goucher’s Fall Orientation. I knew then that I was no longer a high school student. I was an eager Gopher, ready to be a more goal-driven leader in the process.
What will I miss most about Sandy? If I had to name one thing it would probably be his enlightening public forum speeches. What is Sandy’s message as we turn the page, opening a new chapter for Goucher? I think Sandy would say that we all have our voices in this world.  It is up to us to decide what we want Goucher to be. Today let us all rise up together and grab glory.


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