September 26, 2012
College of Wooster President Grant Cornwell was a big hit at the cricket match between Wooster's club team and a group of players from the community last Sunday at John P. Papp Stadium.
WOOSTER, Ohio — Grant Cornwell rarely turns down an opportunity to interact with students at The College of Wooster, even if it means participating in an activity that is out of his comfort zone.
This past weekend, for example, Wooster’s president played in an exhibition cricket match at John P. Papp Stadium that featured the College’s club team and a group of players who are originally from India but now work and reside in the Wooster community.
Despite the president’s limited experience as a player, both teams vied for his services, but the students eventually persuaded him to play with them. “I’ve been a fan of cricket for years,” says Cornwell. “It’s a really fun game, and I love the culture of the sport. If I had more time in my life, I would play it recreationally.”
In an effort to prepare for the match, Cornwell engaged in what he called “a crash course in all things cricket.” He attended a practice and took some private lessons with the club’s coach, Graham Ford, who doubles as the varsity men’s soccer coach.
A former collegiate basketball player, Cornwell has more than his fair share of athletic prowess, but at 6’5”, he’s not especially well suited for cricket. Still he gave it the old college try, batting and fielding to the approval of the multicultural crowd of fans, but in the end, his team lost to the community team.
More important than the final score, however, was the time he spent with a diverse group of students, which included representatives from India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, and the U.S.
“Being involved with students is very important to me,” says Cornwell. “I can’t be an effective leader unless I understand our students and have a relationship with them. They are our very reason for being.”
In courageously donning the cricket gear, Cornwell demonstrated his commitment to another of the College’s strategic initiatives — experiential learning — or what might best be described as an accelerated form of theory to practice.
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