A few days ago, I received the most important email that I have received from Adam Falk in the past two weeks.  Today is part one of a year-long seminar in which I discuss the hidden implications of this email, which are readily apparent to me, even if lesser mortals lack my divination abilities.  And so it begins:

Dear Jeff,

Note the use of the informal “Jeff” instead of “Jeffrey” or “Mr. Zeeman.”  (Sort of like Larry David takes the “tu liberty” … but that’s crazy, wacky, mixed-up President Falk).  By choosing “Jeff,” Falk is establishing that he is the kind of President I’d want to drink a beer with, as opposed to a guy who might try to get me to audit one of his classes.  I enjoy drinking Boddingtons.  Conclusion: Falk’s favorite beer is Boddingtons.

In my first six months at your alma mater, I have grown to appreciate the profound importance of Alumni Fund giving to what matters most at Williams.

“What matters most at Williams”appears to be a reference to Winter Study.  All classes will henceforth be pass-fail.  Alternative interpretation: “what matters most at Williams” is a reference to Mountain Day.  Every day will now be Mountain Day, and the faculty will all be retrained as mountain sherpas.  [Although I seriously doubt Falk trusts anyone on the current faculty to be head sherpa — that role will be outsourced to someone with specialized sherpa training].

Last year,

“Last year” was 2009.  20 – 9 = 11.  2 + 0 + 0 + 9 also = 11.  President Falk’s tenure will last eleven years.

alumni contributed $9 million through the Alumni Fund, 6 percent of our entire operating revenue.  In tough economic times, such generosity is as essential as it is impressive, because we employ these gifts to sustain the values at the core of the Williams enterprise.

This one is facially obvious.  “Core values” =  U2 will be performing the national anthem at the next Williams-Amherst game, thanks to your alumni dollars.

Stay tuned for Part Two, where I provide an in-depth analysis of the meaning underlying President Falk’s font choice.  [Hint: Times New Roman indicates certain pedagogical priorities].

Print  •  Email