John Plummer
Memorial Scholarship

In the first Inaugural Address of The College of Wooster in 1870, President Willis Lord wrote:

Let the tree of knowledge be as accessible as God has made the tree of life.  The essential test of citizenship in the commonwealth of science and letters should be character, mental and moral quality, and attainment, not condition, race, color or sex.

What he did not say explicitly, but what is clearly implied by the principle he invokes, is that the tree of knowledge also must be open to all persons without regard to sexual orientation.  John Plummer was clearly guided by this belief.

American society, like every other I know, has historical roots of bias and prejudice of many kinds.  The College of Wooster, given our mission, should be a community of learners that models inclusiveness, and demonstrates to our larger society how people from diverse backgrounds and identities can draw upon diversity as a source of strength, inspiration, creativity, and the deep learning that comes from collaborating with others who see the world from different points of view.

Of course, the College has not always lived up to these ideals, and does not even now.  As an ideal, our goal is continually to aspire, to struggle, to move closer to its realization.  These aspirations and struggles call for leadership, courage, and inspiration.

I never had the honor of knowing John Plummer, but from all I have learned it is clear that he gave much of himself to help others in this community secure their access to the tree of knowledge.  I am pleased and proud of The College of Wooster for establishing the John Plummer Memorial Scholarship.  With you, I celebrate all that it signifies.

                                                            Grant H. Cornwell