A Wittenberg education is about growing emotionally as much as it is about growing intellectually, according to Christal Morehouse, ’98, who addressed students at Opening Convocation on Aug. 23 in Weaver Chapel.
Morehouse serves as Senior Program Officer for Open Society Foundations in Barcelona, Spain, where she is responsible for grant-making in policy dialogues in Europe. After her time at Wittenberg, she moved to Berlin, Germany where she received her Master’s degree in political science at Free University and her Ph.D from Humbolt University.
Morehouse spoke about her cross-cultural career in her speech, “To The World.” The speech was directed at first-year students, all of whom were in attendance as a part of their first-year seminar experience.
According to David Barry, associate professor of languages, Morehouse was a student who has always striven to understand the world around her and what she could do to make it a better place. Through this, he stated in his introduction, she was able to develop a critical sense of self.
It was that critical sense of self that Morehouse described when she encouraged students to truly search for who they are and where they fit in.
“These are all the things I wished I would have learned faster,” said Morehouse, before listing seven pillars of life as a successful Wittenberg student.
Embracing an intellectual and emotional journey, getting to know yourself and your talents, learning to learn, and seeking a connection rather than to fit in were among the lessons Morehouse imparted on students.
“I feel that [Morehouse’s speech] was relevant to me as a first-year student because it gave me insight about what to expect my next four years here at Wittenberg,” said Maddie Myers.
It was this message of self-discovery and resilience that resonated with Myers. She stated that what stood out the most during the convocation address was Morehouse’s advice that it is okay not to know exactly what’s coming next.
While first-year students may have been Morehouse’s intended audience for the address, other members of the Wittenberg community benefitted as well. Madeline Imler, senior international studies and business major, attended convocation to hear about Morehouse’s career and found herself relieved by the message she heard.
“I wanted to hear her experiences and how she leveraged her education to get where she is today,” Imler said. “It was reassuring as a senior to hear that it is okay to feel overwhelmed and unsure because things will eventually fall into place.”
Morehouse closed her speech by stating that, in her own experiences, she has found most days to look like shades of chaos, only to make sense in retrospect.
“You don’t have to have the master plan in order to get where you want to be,” Morehouse stated. “But you must be an active participant in your own life.”